In Indian history, the workmen or employees worked in chaotic conditions of employment. The workers were engaged individually with uncertain and vague employment conditions. So, the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Act 1946 was enacted as a remedy for the situation. The act’s objective was to bring uniformity related to employment in an establishment to minimise industrial conflict.
The Act of 1946 states that employers associated with industries need to define the conditions of employment.
Meaning of standing order
Standing order states the law governing the employer and employee relationship in industrial establishments. It includes the classification of workers, working hours, attendance, suspension and termination.
According to Section 2(g) of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 ‘Standing Order’ means rules relating to the matters set out in the Schedule. In other words, it can be the rules of conduct for workers employed in industrial establishments.
Nature of the Standing Order
The Standing order is statutory. The Standing order is of the nature as ‘contractual’ on the one hand and as an ‘award’ on the other. The Standing order is of the nature, making it ambiguous and inconclusive.
Thus, the Standing order can be said as of the following nature:
- A special kind of contract
- An award
- A form of delegated legislation
Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act
Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 or The Standing Order Act, 1946 requires the employer of the industrial establishments to determine the conditions of the employment under them. Employment conditions get informed to the employees employed under the industrial establishment.
Features of the Standing Order Act, 1946
Following are the salient features of the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Act:
- The Concept of Standing Order
- The Adjudicatory powers of the Certifying Officer
- Certifying Standing Orders to have force in law
The objective of the Standing Order Act of 1946
The objective of the Standing Order Act, 1946 are as follows:
- To provide regular standing orders for workers and factories.
- To ensure that the workers recognise the terms and conditions of the employment.
- To ensure that the workers aren’t exploited.
- To promote peace and harmony in industries by supporting fair industrial practice.
Application of the Standing Order Act, 1946
The Standing Order Act applies to the Industrial Establishments within India. However, the number of workmen engaged in the concerned industry should be 50 or more either at present or any day of the preceding year.
Further, Section 2(i) of the Standing Order Act provides entities covered under industrial establishment. Following are the entities listed as Industrial Establishment:
- The industrial establishment gets provided under Section 2(i) of the Payment of Wages Act 1936.
- Factories as explained under Section 2(m) of the Factories Act, 1948.
- Railway Industry
- An establishment where the contractor employs the workers for fulfilling the contract with the owner of an Industry
- Workman as defined under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
- The act applies to all industrial establishments under the control of the Central Government.
Non- Applicability of the Act
The Industrial Establishment is excluded from applying for the Standing order through various statutory provisions.
- Section 1(4) of the Standing Order Act provides industries excluded from the ambit of the Act:
- An industry where Chapter VII of the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946 applies
- An industrial establishment where the provision of the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Act, 1946 applies.
Further, as provided under Section 13B of the Act, the Standing Order Act does not apply to the industrial establishment where the workers employed are the persons to whom the rules below apply. The rules are as follows:
- The Fundamental and supplementary rules
- Civil services (temporary services) rules
- Civil services (classification, control and appeal) rules
- Indian railway establishment Code
- Revised leave rules
- Civilians in defence service (classification, control and appeal) rules
- Civil service regulations
Matters provided in Standing Order Act, 1946
The matters to be provided under the Standing Order Act are:
- Classification of workmen
- Manner of intimating to workmen, the period and hours of works including holidays, pay-days and wage rate.
- Working Shift
- Attendance or late coming
- Conditions and procedures to apply for the holiday. It includes specifying the authority who will grant leave and holidays.
- Requirement of entry into premises by gates and liability to search
- The closing and reopening of the sections of the industrial establishment. Temporary stoppage of work and rights and liabilities of the employer and workmen
- Termination of the employment and notice given by the employer and workmen
- Provision regarding suspension or dismissal for misconduct and acts or omission leading to misconduct.
- Redressal mechanism for workmen against wrongful execution or unfair treatment by the employer or his agents or servants
- Any other matter that is prescribed
Submissions of draft standing orders
An employer is responsible for submitting the draft standing order within six months from the date on which the Standing Order Act applies to the industrial establishment. According to the provision of Section 3 of the Act, five copies of the draft Standing Order proposed by the employer to be adopted in his industrial establishment are submitted to the Certifying Officer. It is necessary to make provision for every matter related to the industrial establishment as stated in the Schedule. If the model standing order is prescribed, the standing order should conform with the model.
The draft submitted should accompany the statement that prescribes particulars of the workmen employed in the industrial establishment, including the trade union‘s name.
Conditions of certifying standing order
Section 4 of the Act provides conditions for certification of the standing order, which include:
- A provision to be made in the standing order relating to every matter applicable to the industrial establishment as provided in the schedule.
- The standing orders must conform with the provision of the model standing order.
Certification of standing order
Section 5 of the Standing Order Act deals with the Certification of the standing order. After receiving a draft under section 3, the certifying officer should forward a copy of the draft to the trade union. If there is no trade union, the copy is forwarded to the workers and the notice seeking objection.
The certifying officer, after given a chance to be heard by the employer, trade union or the representative of the workers, should decide whether the modification in the standing trade can be certified as per the provision of the act or not. Thus the order in writing for modification is made accordingly.
The certifying officer then certifies the draft standing order to modify the Standing Order within seven days. After modification, the copies of the certified order are sent to the employer and the trade union or prescribed representative of the workers.
Register of standing order
Section 8 of the Standing Order Act provides the provision for the registration of the standing order. According to this section, the certified text of the Standing Order should be filed in the register by the certifying officer. The certifying officer should also furnish the copy to any person after paying the prescribed fee.
Posting of standing order
Section 9 deals with the posting of the standing order. The certified standing order should be posted on the boards by the employer in English or any other language understood by most workmen. The boards are maintained at the entrance through which most of the workmen enter and in all the departments where workmen work.
Power of the government
Power to exempt
Section 14 of the act states that the Appropriate Government is empowered to exempt any industrial establishment or class of industrial establishment from all or any provision, conditionally or unconditionally.
Delegation of powers
Section 14A provides that the appropriate government can direct any power exercisable by the government under Standing Order Act, 1946. Such powers can get delegated for certain matters and are subject to certain conditions.
Power to make rules
Section 15 of the standing order provides that the appropriate government can make rules regarding the Act, and the rules are formed only after notifying in the official gazette.
The appropriate government can make the following rules:
- Prescribe additional matters included in the schedule and the procedure to modify the standing order. Before making any rule regarding the matters in the schedule or modification, the government should consult the employer and the workmen.
- To set out the model standing order.
- To prescribe the procedure of certifying officers and appellate authorities.
- To prescribe the fee charged concerning the copies of the standing order, entered in the register of the standing order.
Standing orders can also be referred to as the Constitution of industries that lays down rules & regulations for better industry functioning.
The Standing Order Act, 1946 or the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Act, 1946 formally provides the employment relations between employer and workmen or trade Union.
The Act provides the concept of ‘standing order,’ a contract representing the will of parties regulated in the Act. On a final note, Standing Act lays down an exemplary notion and requires thorough reforms in the present employment scenario.
Do certified standing orders have statutory force?
Yes, the certified standing orders have statutory force.
Who is certifying officer?
Labour Commissioner, regional commissioners or any of the appropriate government's officers appointed for such purpose.
Who is the Appellate Authority?
Central Labour commissioner or deputy central labour commissioner are appointed as the Appellate Authority under the Act of 1946.
What are the conditions for certification of standing orders?
Standing Orders will be certified:-
- If the Provision is prescribed for every matter which applies to the industrial establishment, and
- If the standing orders conform with the provisions of this Act
Can the Certified Standing Orders be modified?
Yes. Section 10 of the Act provides for modification of standing orders on application by an employer, workman, or a workmen trade union.
What is the punishment for an employer who fails to submit a draft standing order per the provisions under section 3 of the act of 1946?
The penalty for such an offence is five thousand rupees, and for continuing offence, two hundred rupees daily for the period the offence continues.
Which section consists of the provision for payment of subsistence allowance?
Section 10-A of the act consists of the provision for payment of subsistence allowance in case of suspension or pending investigation against a worker.