DU SOL B.Com 3rd Year Human Resource Management Notes Chapter 17 Employee/Labour Welfare
Define labour welfare and describe its scope, functions and advantages.
Meaning, Functions And Advantages Of Labour Welfare:
The term ‘labour welfare’ is one which tends itself to various interpretations and it has not always the same significance in various countries. As pointed out by the Royal Commission on Labour, the term ‘welfare’ is applied to the industrial workers “is one which must necessarily be elastic, bearing a somewhat different interpretation in one country from another, according to the different social custom, the degree of industrialisation and the educational development of workers.”
Therefore, it – is not easy to define the term precisely. Different interpretations are given to the term ‘welfare activities’ by different people. One definition confines it to voluntary efforts on the part of the employers to provide employees the best conditions of employment in their factories.
The other view is that it is anything for the comfort and improvement – intellectual or social – of the employees over and above the wages paid which is not a necessity of the industry not required by law.
According to N.M. Joshi, “Welfare work covers all the efforts which employers make for the benefit of their employees over and above the minimum standards of living working conditions fixed by the Factories Act and over and above the provisions of the social legislations providing against accident, old age, employment and sickness.”
According to Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, “Labour welfare implies the voluntary efforts of the employers to establish within the existing industrial system, working and sometimes living conditions of the employees beyond what is required by law the custom of the industry and condition of the market.”
Hence the term labour welfare does not Comprehend those activities that are necessitated by the laws of country, the traditions and customs of industry in that country, or by conditions of the market. Instead, it means the voluntary action on the part of the employer to improve the lot of his employees.
The International Labour Organisation defines labour welfare in these words : “Workers’ welfare should be understood as meaning such services, facilities and amenities which may be established in, or in the vicinity, undertaking to enable the persons employed in them to perform their work in healthy, congenial surroundings and provided with amenities conducive to good health and high morale.”
In this way, the term ‘labour welfare’ implies schemes and activities that produce conditions that improve the health of the workers as well as those circumstances that improve their morale. It may widely be taken to mean any voluntary action on the part of the employer that benefits the worker in any way.
But it does not include any activity that the employer is compelled or coerced into performing whatever be the benefit according to the labour class. Through the medium of labour welfare work, employers and industrialists try to achieve the integral or complete development of employees.
In short, measures and activities undertaken by the state, employers and association of workers for the improvement of worker’s standards of life and for the promotion of their economic and social well being are called labour welfare work.
Scope of Labour Welfare – Labour welfare includes all services, amenities and facilities which are provided by the employer in or in the vicinity of the undertaking in order to enable the employees to perform their work in healthy and congenial surroundings and provide them with amenities conducive to good health and high morale. According to Dr. Broughton welfare activities can be divided into two classes –
(a) Intra-mural and
(b) Extra mural.
Intra-mural works include
1. Scientific Selection or Appointment – The scientific selection of workers for the various jobs within the factory.
2. industrial Training – Training for different jobs in the factory.
3. Arrangement for light, fresh air and water – This classification comprehends arrangements in the factory for cleanliness, white washing, ventilation, drinking water, bathrooms, lavatories, urinals, light, air . conditioning, etc.
4. Prevention of Accidents – This includes arrangements for i protection from dangerous machines, extreme temperatures, fire fighting, etc.
5. Other functions – Such as canteen, provision or rest rooms, refreshment, etc.
Major extra-mural labour welfare functions are the following:
- Provision of Education – This includes adult education, social education, primary education, education of men, women and children etc.
- Arrangement for proper housing accommodation
- Medical Service -This includes rest, cure, paid leave, free treatment, subsidized medical aid, etc.
- Provision of inexpensive and nourishing food.
- Facilities of Recreation – Clubs, gymnasia, cinema, radio, reading- rooms, libraries, etc. In additions to the
above list, the following activities are also a part of labour welfare service:
- Social insurance scheme,
- Provident fund benefits,
- Sickness and maternity benefits,
- Arrangement of maternity homes and creches,
- Provision of cooperative societies,
- Arrangement Of cultural programmes,
- Schooling of children.
Aims, Objectives Or Advantages Of Labour Welfare:
Today labour welfare programmes have become very important because whatever is spent, on it, is as good investment by the employer, fie is benefited by increased production or better quality of work. Some . important motives of labour welfare are as follows :
- To give expression to philanthropic and paternalistic feedings.
- To win over employees’ loyalty and increase their morale.
- To combat trade unionism and socialist ideas.
- To build up stable labour force, to reduce labour turnover and absenteeism.
- To develop efficiency and productivity among workers.
- To save oneself from heavy taxes on surplus profits.
- To earn goodwill and enhance public image.
- To reduce the threat of further government intervention.
- To make recruitment more effective (because these benefits add to job sales appeal).
Labour welfare operates to neutralise the harmful effects or large scale industrialisation and urbanisation. Provision of welfare amenities enables the workers to live a richer and more satisfactory life and contributes to their efficiency and productivity. It helps in maintaining industrial peace.
Explain the principles of labour welfare programme.
Principles Of Labour Welfare Programme:
Following are the principles to be followed in setting up a labour welfare programme :
1. The programme should satisfy real needs of the workers – This means that the manager must first determine what the employees’ real needs are. Extreme care and serious research should go into the decision of whether or not to offer a particular employees service.
More evidence is required than a mere unfounded bias of the manager. In one case, a company manager who felt that his employees needed a sports programme budget money, purchased facilities, and hired a company athlectic director. But when the whistle was blown to play ball, nobody wanted to play.
2. The, programme should be such as can be handled best by a group approach – For example, life insurance purchased as a group can be obtained at,a significantly lower price than same insurance purchased by the individual. But it is argued that depending upon the differences in sex, age, marital status, number of children, type of job and the income level of employees there are large differences in their choice of a particular benefit.
As a result, it is Suggested that a package total value of benefits should be determined and the selection of the mix of benefits should be left to the choice of each individual employee. .This is known as the ‘Cafetaria approach’. Such an approach individualises the benefit system though it may be difficult to operate and administer.
3. The employer should not assume a benevolent posture – We have seen in the section on leadership how modern organisations, based on classical principles, foster dependency in employees which is incongruent with the needs of a mature personality. The paternalistic and benevolent approach has fallen in disrepute as a result of the employee’s desire to gain maturity and adulthood.
4. The cost of the programme should be calculated and its financing established oh a sound basis – There are several employee services such as pension, provident fund, insurance, etc., which are not cheap to administer.
The cost of such benefits can hardly be termed a fringe. It is, therefore, essential that before conceding any such service over the collective bargaining table sound actuarial estimates of its cost are made and adequate provisions for financing it are established.
5. The management should ensure co-operation and active participation of unions and workers in formulating and implementing the programme.
6. There should be periodical assessment or evaluation of the programme and necessary timely improvement n the basis of feedback.
“Labour welfare measures are a waste of money because neither their nature nor the extent of their use promote workers’ efficiency.” Express your opinion on this statement.
Significance Of Welfare Activities:
Labour welfare work done by several agencies is not satisfactory. The contribution of employers is also negligible. Employers take it as a sheer waste of money and nothing else. There has been very little real spirit of service. Whatever work is done by them is only in pursuit of their liability under the various legislations. Their arguments for this attitude are as under:
- Due to their limited financial resources, they cannot set aside adequate funds for welfare work. The negligible amount spent on welfare activities does not find the desired results.
- Due to overburdened administrative machinery in industries it cannot think of any additional burden for welfare facilities.
- Immediate and direct benefits from the welfare services will be reaped by employees so employees should come forward and bear a greater part of financial burden.
- Many- workers look on the welfare work undertaken by the employers with suspicion. They feel that welfare activities are meant to undermine the influence of trade unions.
- The various measures provided under various Acts are unscientific and unplanned. They are not carried out in their real spirit. The official machinery is not effective to get the provisions of law executed.
- Welfare activities have no direct and immediate effect on labour’s
efficiency and productivity.
Therefore the amount spent on labour welfare activities is sheer wastage of money.
- Since the rate of absenteeism and labour turnover is very high in Indian industries. The amount spent on welfare activities could not contribute to the efficiency of workers and it goes waste.
Thus employers think that labour efficiency and productivity is not affected directly with these measures hence they dare not to spend much on these activities. They fulfil only their legal commitments and no more. So, they think of the welfare activities as liability and not an investment. The fact is that the labour welfare activities contribute to the better efficiency and productivity of labour in the long run.
It yields good industrial relations , and promotes.workers morale. Planned and well-organised welfare activities repay the employers in the long run. The labour welfare activities increase the workers’ efficiency indirectly’and in the long run in the following ways:
- Workers real wages are increased by welfare measures which indirectly increases their efficiency. By labour welfare measures their efficiency is increased considerably.
- Workers begin to feel satisfied with their work when they find that they are being well looked after by their employers, Thus their morale is raised and industrial relations improve.
- Labour turnover and absenteeism rates decline because workers find their work place congenial and the employer sympathetic towards them.
- Welfare measures recognise the human values in workers. Therefore, on humanitarian grounds too labour welfare is commendable.
- From social point of view, welfare measures ensure healthier and more enlightened citizens.
- Welfare measures develop psychological and moral values in workers. They help minimising the industrial evils because welfare measures keep them engaged in other social and recrerational activities.
- A sense of responsibility can be developed in workers by giving them proper education.
Thus, we can assert that the labour welfare activities play a very important role in improving their physical and mental health of the workers which may further improve their efficiency and productivity.
In other words, industrial production and profits may go up if proper attention is paid by the Indian industrialists towards the labour welfare activities. The amount spent on these activities should not be considered as a waste of money but should be taken as an investment in labour which would pay the dividend in the long run.
Discuss the reasons why labour welfare work in India assumes greater importance?
Reasons For The Welfare Activities In India:
Following are the important reasons why labour welfare work in India assumes greater importance that in other countries.
1. Lack of strong Trade Union Movement – In India trade union movement is still in its infancy and not strong enough to protect their own interests. In industrialised and developed countries. Workers are strongly organised into trade unions. As the force of strong trade union is missing in our country the welfare of labourers should be efficiently looked after by the employer and the government.
2. Lack of literacy and education. In comparison to other countries, the percentage of educated workers is very low; and consequently they are not in a position to understand their own interests and interests of employer and the society. Hence labour welfare is required more in India than in other countries.
3. Lack of Healthy Recreation – Workers do not have healthy recreation with the result that they indulge in crime and other wrongful activities. Hence it is essential that recreation and entertainment of a healthy kind be provided.
4. Industrial Backwardness – From the viewpoint of industrial backwardness Indian industries are far behind than other countries. Industrial programme is dependent upon the efficiency of labour. Welfare measures motivates the workers and maintains their efficiency and productivity.
5. Problem of Absenteeism and Migration – Compared to workers on other countries the Indian labourer is more restless and tendencious towards frequent migration because life in the town does not provide for his needs, and the atmosphere in general does not suit him. Level of wages is far too low to adequately compensate for the high prices of most commodities.
Hence, the labourers cannot comfortably settle down in one place. This Worker’s migratory tendency can be curbed by providing him with adequate housing improving the conditions in which he is required to work, and other welfare work of a similar nature.
This will help the worker establish a home in the town, and he will not have to run frequently to the village for his family. Hence, the problem of absentees in factory will be reduced. Recreation and cultural facilities will prevent much indulgence in drug addiction and alcoholism, crime and prostitution and other undesirable activity. Even more than this, the precentage of absentees in factories will fall.
Explain in brief the labour activities being done by various agencies in India.
Labour Activities In India:
Before independence, very little was done in the sphere of labour welfare activities either by the Government or employers or by any other agency. But substantial work has been done in this direction since independence. Various agencies have organised welfare activities in India.
These agencies are –
- The Central Government.
- The State Government.
- The Employers. .
- The Trade Unions.
- Other agencies.
1. Welfare Activities by the Central Government:
Till Second World War, very little was done by the government of India in this field. During Second War, the Government of India, for the first time, launched Welfare schemes in the war industries to increase productivity of works and to keep their morale high.
The central government has taken special interest in labour welfare activities after the emergence of India as a Welfare State. Since then, various legislations were passed to promote the welfare activities, such as Factories Act 1948, Mines Act 1952, Plantation Labour Act 1951, Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act 1947, Iron ore Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act 1961, etc. Various legislation provided the welfare activities as under:
(a) Factories Act l94$ – Prior to the Factories Act 1948, minimum standards for. lighting, ventilating, fencing of machineries, control of temperature, safety provisions etc. were present in Factories Acts. New provisions providing for washing facilities, first-aid appliances, canteens, rest rooms, creches etc.
were also made in Factories Act 1948. Under the Act, State Government are authorised to make to associates representatives of workers with the management in regard to the welfare arrangement for work. Provision for the appointment of a Labour Welfare Officer in every factory employing 500 or more workers is also made in the Act.
Provisions for welfare of workers also exist in the Indian Dock Labourer’s Act 1934. The Mines Act 1952, The Plantation Labour Act 1951, The Merchant ‘ Shipping Act 1958, The Motor Transport Workers Act 1961, The Bidi and Cigar Workers, conditions of Employment Act 1966, The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970.
(b) Labour Welfare Funds – The Government of India has set up Labour Welfare Funds to finance welfare activities in Governed owned and controlled undertakings excluding Railways and Ports. These funds are contributories in character. Initially, the scheme was for four year but later’ on it was extended with the condition that Welfare Fund Cotnmittees consisting of representatives of employees and government should be formed to administer the Funds.
For the welfare of mine workers, various Welfare Fund Acts were passed for workers engaged in coal, mica, iron-ore, limestone and dolomite mines. The finances for the Funds were raised through the levy of cess on production and export. The welfare activities covered under these Acts are housing, public health, sanitation, medical, education and recreational facilities for workers and their dependents. Acts also cover provisions of accident and other benefits.
(c) Welfare Activities in Railways and Ports – Railways and major ports of Bombay, Calcutta, Cochin, Kandla, Madras, Mormagao, Visakhapattanam and other ports in India have provided various labour welfare activities for their workers. These facilities include well-equipped hospitals and dispensaries, canteen, recreation, education facilities, housing, cooperative societies and fair price shops, etc. Railways provide assistance to their workers out of Staff Benefit Fund in times of emergency.
(d) Other Welfare Activities –
- The Government of India has set up a Central Board for Workers’ Education. It provides grants-in-aid to trade unions and institutions for workers’ education.
- Shram-Vir Award.have been instituted for workers in recognition of meritorious performance.
2. Welfare Activities by State Government:
State governments have also played an important role in providing the welfare activities to labours in their state., States of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are the leading states in organising various welfare activities.
There are Modal Welfare Centres in most of the states. In Maharashtra Bombay Labour Welfare Board organises the labour welfare activities in the state. Welfare funds have also been set up in Maharashtra and U.P. In some states, vocational training is also given to workers. There is a Labour Welfare Advisory Committee in U.P.
3. Welfare Activities by Employers:
At present, the welfare activities are being brought more and more under legislations rather than being left to the good sense of the employers.The Government has made certain facilities obligatory on the part of the employers to be provided to workers, under legislations. The employers have limited resources and moreover, their attitude towards labour is apathetic.
They consider the expenditure on labour welfare activities as waste of money rather than an investment. Even so, some enlightened employers, on their own initiative, have been doing a bit in the direction of welfare. They have provided medical aids, hospital and dispensary facilities, canteens, fair price shops, co-operative societies, recreation, club etc.
These facilities are apart from their liability under various central or state legislations. The Delhi Cloth and General Mills have an Employees Benefit Fund Trust managed by a board of trustees.
This fund is financed by the contribution of a fixed percentage of the amount distributed, unclaimed wages and lines etc. The trust organises several welfare schemes out of this fund such as voluntary health insurance scheme, gratuity and old age pension scheme, the provident fund and daughter’s marriage allowance schemes. It provides financial assistance to workers in emergency.
The welfare facilities provided by employers are not satisfactory. The Labour Investigation Committee has quoted the views of Dr. B.R. Seth who observes, “The vast majority of industrialists in India still regard welfare work as a barren liability rather than a wise investment.”
4. Labour Welfare Activities by Trade Unions:
The welfare work undertaken by the trade union agency are negligible because of lack of organisation and financial stringency. Only a few unions like the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association, the Mazdoor Sabha of Kanpur, Indore Mill Mazdoor San’gh and Bank Employees Association have devoted themselves to welfare work.
The Ahmedabad Textile Labour’ Association spends nearly 70% of its income on welfare activities. Labour welfare activities generally provided by these trade unions are libraries and reading room, educational institution, including day and night schools, cultural and social centres, gymnasia etc. The Mill Mazdoor Sabha, Indore has started a Labour Welfare Centre which is working in three sections as Bal Mandir, Kanya Mandir and Mahila Mandir.
However, in general, trade unions have not taken much interest in welfare work because of lack of proper leadership and funds.
5. Labour Welfare work by other agencies:
Apart from the agencies closely connected with the industries, (Governments employers and trade unions) several other agencies have also done commendable work in the field of labour welfare. Such agencies are:
(a) Social service agencies – Several social service agencies such as Bombay Social Service League started by the Servants of India. Society and similar leagues in Madras and Bengal, the Shiv Sena Society, the Bombay Presidency Women’s Council, the Maternity and Infant Welfare Association, the Y.M.C.A. the Depressed Classes Mission Society and many other missionary societies play an important role in organising the welfare work, both by helping employers and the labour and by independent efforts.
These agencies have provided various welfare activities, like education, indoor and outdoor – games establishment of co-operative societies, night schools and libraries etc.
(b) Municipalities – A few municipalities and municipal corporations have also taken special welfare measures such as co-operative credit societies, maternities and nursery schools, adult schools, creches, etc. These progressive municipalities are at Bomaby, Calcutta, Delhi, Kanpur, Madras, Ajmer etc.