Provisions Relating to Sick Leave in India
What are the provisions relating to sick leave under different labour laws in India?
Sick leave is the leave that an employee can avail in case of sickness of self or relative (as specified under law). Sick leave provides pay to employees when they are out of work due to illness. Most of the times the quantum of such leave is fixed by the company/organization in accordance with the State’s Shops and Establishment Act or any other law applicable to it, but then some legislations do contain specific provisions in this respect. Sick leaves accumulated in a year can be carried forward and availed in the next year. The quantum of leaves that can be carried forward should commensurate to the one provided under the applicable law.
Apprentices Act, 1961 - Section 15 (Rule 13)
Any person appointed as an apprentice under the Act can avail medical leave for a maximum period of 15 days in a year and in case of accumulated leave up to 40 days in a year.
Plantation Labour Act, 1951 - Section 32
Employees covered under this Act are entitled to sick leave in accordance with the company policies.
Working Journalist and Other News Paper Employee’s (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955
Section 7 (Rule 28) - These employees are eligible for one month medical leave for every 18 months of service rendered at half the wages.
Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976 - Section 4
Any person covered under the Act can avail sick leave of not less than one-eighteenth of the service period at half the wages. This leave gets sanctioned only when medical certificate is presented.
Except for the workers covered under the Acts mentioned above, casual leaves are available as per the company policy. Next, for establishments not covered under the ESI Act, then workers get sick leave as per company policy or standing orders.
What are the provisions related to accidents or sickness caused during the course of work?
Under Indian legislation there is an Act which provides compensation to certain classes of workmen by their employers for injury which may be suffered by the workmen as a result of an accident during the course of employment which is said to be The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923. This Act specifies that general principle is that a workman who suffers injury in course of his employment should be entitled to compensation and in case of a fatal injury his dependents should be compensated.
There is also The Employees’ State insurance Act, which is the first major legislation on social security for industrial workers in India. The Scheme, as per provisions of the Act, is devised so as to provide social protection to workers in contingencies such as illness, long term sickness or any other health risks due to exposure to employment injury or occupational hazards. Under the provisions of the scheme, medical facilities are also made available to the legal dependents of insured persons.
What are the laws relating to HIV/AIDS affected employees at work?
Currently there are no laws relating to safeguard or protect discrimination against the HIV/AIDS affected person at work in India. But government is working on formation of legislation on same issues, with the number of cases joining up. At present there are many NGOs who are working towards it, but proper legislation is still to come in place.
What are laws relating to medical insurance or medical facilities for employees?
The Employees’ State Insurance Act is a legislation which is social security benefit provided to industrial workers and their families for medical help. Under the provisions of scheme medical facilities are also made available to the legal dependents of insured persons. Medical facility has also now been introduced for retired insured persons and permanently disabled workers and their spouses at a nominal contribution.
What does law say about the hazardous process functioning for the workers?
There are specific provisions relating to responsibility of employers/occupier in relation to the functioning of hazardous process under the Factories Act, 1948.
Section 41 C specifies that it is the responsibility of employer to maintain accurate and upto date medical record of the workers. To appoint qualifies, experienced and component supervisors to supervise handling of hazardous substances. Pre-employment medical examination of workers, at regular interval.
Section 41 F specifies permissible limits of exposure of chemical and toxic substances have been prescribed under the Second Schedule. These limits are applicable, whether the industry is hazardous or not.
Section 41 G mentions about the workers participation in Safety Management. Safety Committees are required to be set up, comprising of representatives of management and workers, to promote better co-operation. This requirement also applies to non-hazardous, non-dangerous operation factories employing more than 250 workers in factories.
Section 41 H specifies about the Right of workers to warn about imminent danger. In this section it empowers workers to bring to the notice to the occupier, manager or incharge, directly or through the Safety Committee, any situation where there is a likelihood of imminent danger to human life and to simultaneously bring to the notice of the Inspector of Factories.