Labour welfare, relates to taking care of the well-being of workers by employers, trade unions, government and non-government agencies.
It deals with the provision of opportunities for workers and his family/her family for a good life as understood in most comprehensive sense.
The basic purpose of labour welfare is to improve the working class and thereby make him a happy employee and good citizen.
Learn about:- 1. Introduction to Labour Welfare 2. Nature and Scope of Labour Welfare 3. Features 4. Importance 5. Objectives 6. Types 7. Welfare Facilities and Statutory Provisions 8. Agencies 9. Role of Welfare Measures 10. Benefits.
Labour Welfare: Introduction, Nature, Scope, Features, Importance Objectives, Types, Benefits and Other Details
Labour Welfare – Introduction
Employee welfare is justified for several reasons. A typical worker does a lot of work like digging coal from earth, fetching and refining oil, to build dams for society. They look after necessities as well as luxuries of people in society. Thus, welfare measures are a must for them.
Welfare measures are going to have a great impact on workers’ productivity. Thus, a worker show safeguards economic and social factors of the industrial economy needs a boost with welfare activities.
Welfare may help retain the employee. Most welfare facilities are hygiene factors according to Frederick Herzberg, they create dissatisfaction if not provided. Replace dissatisfaction, place an employee in favourable mood, provide satisfiers, and then motivation will take place. Welfare facilities, besides removing dissatisfaction, help develop loyalty in workers towards the organization.
Welfare may also help minimize social evils, such as alcoholism, gambling, drug addiction etc. A dissatisfied worker falls prey to these abuses. Welfare facilities tend to make him happy, satisfied and confident.
Another argument in favour of welfare is that it gives a good image to the company. At the time of recruitment, people see the organization as a good employer. This gives many benefits to the company. It is able to recruit and retain the best employee.
After employees have been hired, trained and remunerated, they need to be retained and maintained to serve the organization better. Welfare activities are designed to take care of the well-being of the employees. They do not generally result in any monetary benefit to the employees nor are these facilities provided by employers alone. Government and non-government agencies, and trade unions too, contribute towards employee welfare. The welfare facilities together contribute to better work.
Welfare implies doing good. Many personnel managers find these activities redundant after spending on them for many years. The argument that these facilities improve loyalty of employees has been exploded. If the welfare facilities are used at all, they are taken for granted by employees.
Managers also argue the usefulness of erecting huge play grounds and recreation centres for employees which would be used by a handful of employees for a limited time. Instead, such facilities could be better used by community.
Some employers argue that this facility be left with government and its agencies only. They argue further that when government provides such facilities to employees at large, why should they be duplicating it?
It has also been said that gratitude is not a prime motivating factor. In fact, gratitude is a thing of the past – remembered for a short time and forgotten soon after.
Labour Welfare – Nature and Scope
Welfare means physical, mental, moral and emotional well-being of an individual. Further, the term welfare is a relative concept, relative in time and space. It, therefore, varies from time to time, from region to region and from country to country.
Labour welfare, relates to taking care of the well-being of workers by employers, trade unions, government and non-government agencies.
It deals with the provision of opportunities for workers and his family/her family for a good life as understood in most comprehensive sense.
The basic purpose of employee welfare is to improve the working class and thereby make him a happy employee and good citizen.
Employee welfare is an important part of social welfare. It involves adjustment of employee’s work life with family life and social life.
Voluntary measures may be both voluntary and statutory. Statutory measures are prescribed by law whereas voluntary measures are a result of philanthropic feeling of employer.
The Labour Investigation Committee preferred to include under labour welfare “anything done for intellectual, physical, moral and economic betterment of the workers, whether by employers, by Government or by other agencies, over and above what is laid down by law, or what is normally expected on the part of the contracted benefits for which workers may have bargained.”
According to the Committee on Labour Welfare, welfare services should mean ‘such services, facilities and amenities as adequate canteens, rest and recreation facilities, sanitary and medical facilities, arrangements for travel to and from the accommodation of workers employed at a distance from their homes and such other services, amenities and facilities including social security measures, which contribute to conditions under which workers are employed.’
Labour welfare activities may be classified into two categories, viz.:
(a) Statutory welfare activities;
(b) Voluntary welfare activities.
Statutory welfare activities have to taken up by every employer as per the provisions of various labour enactments. Such provisions may relate to working conditions, hours of work, industrial safety and various other facilities to be provided to the workers to make their work smooth and enjoyable.
For example, the Factories Act, 1948 provides for several welfare activities such as provision of drinking water, cleanliness and sanitation, canteens, crèches, medical and education facilities, first aid appliances, recreational facilities, amusement, games and sports, housing accommodation, etc.
Voluntary welfare activities are undertaken by the employers without compulsion of any law. They include such activities conducive to the welfare of the workers which are undertaken by the employers on their own free will. They are also taken up by some social organisations.
Labour Welfare – 6 Important Features
1) Employees Welfare measures includes various facilities, services and amenities provided to employees for improving their health, efficiency, economic betterment and social status too.
2) Employees Welfare measures are in addition to their wages and services. It is given under some legal provision and collective bargaining.
3) Employees Welfare schemes are flexible and not static therefore it is ever changing and added to the existing schemes from time to time.
4) These employee welfare measures may be introduced by the Government, employees or by social, charitable or religions institution.
5) The aim behind labour welfare scheme is to develop overall personality of the employees and to retain them as the best workforce.
6) By introducing labour welfare schemes, employees are successful in creating efficient, healthy, loyal motivated, enthusiastic work force in the organisation and to make their work life better and improves their standard of living.
Labour Welfare – Importance
The logic behind providing welfare facilities is to create efficient, healthy, loyal and satisfied labour force for the organisation and also for the nation. In India, industrial workers get the benefit of various welfare facilities. The purpose is to provide them better life and also to make them happy and efficient.
The other equally important purpose is to raise their productivity. Welfare services are not a charity, they are essential to get higher productivity from the workers by satisfying their needs.
The important benefits of welfare services are given below:
(i) Welfare facilities provide better physical and mental health to the workers and make them happy.
(ii) Such service facilities like housing scheme, medical benefits, and education recreation facilities for the workers’ families help create contented workers’ families. This will help them to devote greater attention towards their work. The gain in terms of productivity and quality of work will be large indeed.
(iii) Employees services serve to maintain some degree of peace with the employees’ unions in as much as these constitute a considerable part of the bargaining package. The harmony and the good relations that result are the kingpin of higher productivity.
(iv) Employers get stable labour force due to the provision of welfare facilities. Workers take active interest in their jobs and work with a feeling of involvement and satisfaction. They also find their work interesting.
(v) Employers secure the benefits of high efficiency, cordial industrial relations and low labour absenteeism and turnover.
(vi) Labour welfare measures raise labour productivity and bring industrial peace and cordial labour-management relations.
(vii) An employer is able to attract talented workers from the labour market by providing attractive welfare facilities.
(viii) The social evils prevalent in the labour-force such as gambling, drinking, etc., are reduced. Welfare activities by the employer bring improvement in the health of the workers and keep them cheerful.
Labour Welfare – 8 Main Objectives
1) To provide better and safe life and health to the employee.
2) To relieve employees from frustration, fatigue, depression.
3) To improve intellectual, culture and material conditions of lying of the employees.
4) To make the employees happy and fully satisfied.
6) To enhance employees motivation and morale.
7) To create congenial and healthy atmosphere to enable the workers to enjoy their leisure.
Labour Welfare – Role
i. It fosters harmony and good relations with the employees’ union and leads to higher productivity.
ii. The provision of welfare amenities reduces labour turnover and absenteeism.
iii. It helps the employer to get a stable workforce because the employees are satisfied and more interested and involved in their work.
iv. The provision of various welfare measures will make the workers feel and realize that they also have some stake in the undertaking in which they are engaged and, therefore, any reckless action on their part which may damage the interests of the undertaking is likely to have an effect upon their own interest. The development of such a feeling helps to minimize and further the chances of conflict between labour and management on flimsy grounds. Thus, an all-round increase in production is possible.
v. The social advantages of welfare measures to workers are many and varied. It improves their physique; medical and maternity and child welfare improve the health of workers and their families, and bring down the rates of general mortality and infant mortality. Educational facilities increase their mental efficiency and economic productivity.
Labour Welfare – Types
Welfare services relate to physical and social well-being of the employees both within and outside the organisation. The services within the enterprise are known as intra-mural and those outside the organisation as extra-mural services within the organisation; these include provision of medical benefits, recreational facilities, libraries, canteens, rest rooms, etc.
They may also include meals and refreshments supplied free of cost or at subsidised rates to the employees. But outside the organisation, welfare arrangements include provision of housing accommodation, education of children of employees, sports fields, medical activities for the family, etc.
Such services are provided to the employees within the establishment. They include washing and bathing facilities, latrines and urinals, crèches, rest shelters, canteens, uniform, medical aid, library, recreation facilities, free or subsidised food, etc.
Such services are provided to the employees outside the establishment. They consist of housing accommodation, transport, maternity benefits, children’s education, sports facilities, family and child welfare, holiday homes, leave travel facilities, workers’ cooperative stores, fair price shops, credit societies, vocational guidance, interest free loans, etc.
Welfare services may broadly be classified into:
2. Recreational, and
These are discussed below:
These provide some additional economic security over and above wages or salaries, such as pension, life assurance, credit facilities, etc. Establishing a proper pension program will reduce dissatisfaction in the area of economic security. Pension is a kind of deferred payment to meet the needs of the employees in their old age.
Generally, the amount of pension is related to the last pay drawn and the total number of years of service put in by the employee. Some organisations have a scheme of family pension which provides for payment of pension to family members, in case of demise of employee.
Similarly, the employer may contribute towards the premium of life insurance of each employee. Some organisations also help the employees to start co-operative credit societies to meet the urgent financial needs of the employees or consumers’ co-operative stores to provide the workers with consumers’ goods at ‘no profit-no-loss’ basis.
The employees often need money for purchase of cycle, scooter, T.V., sewing machine, fan, etc. to raise their standard of living. In such cases and at other times (e.g., marriage and other religious activities), there should be some provision to meet their requirements.
The employer may advance them the money which is paid back by the employees in the form of monthly instalments to be deducted from their salaries. The employees may also be induced to build up their own funds for future contingencies.
The employees are in need of occasional diversion. Their attitude improves when the routine of everyday living is broken occasionally. For this purpose, management may provide for recreational facilities. More agreeable informal atmosphere is promoted through the contacts and relationships built up in the recreational events. The management may provide for indoor games like Table Tennis in the common room for employees.
In case of big organisations, management may also arrange for playgrounds for outdoor games and induce the workers to prepare a team to play matches with other similar teams. Co-operation and understanding among the employees will increase. Management may also provide for reading rooms, libraries, radios, TV, etc., for the recreation of the employees.
These are conveniences which the employees ordinarily require such as:
(i) Canteen, rest rooms and lunch room – Eating is naturally a very important thing for an employee to maintain his health and efficiency. Unless proper facilities for food, tea and rest rooms are available. Health and consequential efficiency of the workers will go down. Hence, almost all factories are required to provide canteens where food can be obtained either at a fair price or at subsidised rates.
Similarly, lunch rooms may be provided where workers may take their food which they bring from their homes. Workers also need some place or shelter for taking rest during leisure hours. This is also a necessity for proper upkeep of health and efficiency.
(ii) Housing facilities – Some organisations construct flats for their employees and provide the same either rent free or at a nominal rent. In some cases, cash compensations are given while in other cases, loans at cheaper rates of interest are advanced to the employees to enable them to construct or purchase their own houses or flats.
(iii) Transportation facilities – Many employers provide transportation facilities to and from their establishments. Such facilities reduce the stress and strains of commuting to and from the place of work. It reduces their fatigue in travelling and help to increase their productivity.
(iv) Medical facilities – Health is one of the foremost things for the employees and it is but natural that there may be injuries because of accidents while working. So first-aid facilities must be provided for within the factory premises. In addition, medical scheme is generally in operation under which reimbursement of medical expenses actually incurred is allowed. The organisation may also prescribe doctors from whom the employees may get services in case of need.
(v) Washing facilities – It is necessary to provide for wash basins and washing facilities to be conveniently accessible to all workers which should be clean, properly separated and screened for the use of male and female employees.
(vi) Educational facilities – Educational facilities may be provided by the organisation to the employees’ children by starting a school for them.
(vii) Consumers’ cooperative stores – Many employees help their employees to establish and run consumers’ cooperative stores to make them items of necessity available at cheaper rates. They provide free space and infrastructure for the store within the establishment.
(viii) Leave travel concession – Many organisations reimburse actual fares incurred by the employee in undertaking a tour along with his or her spouse and dependent children once during a specified number of years.
Some Other Types of Employee Welfare Activities:
A comprehensive list of welfare activities is given by M.V. Moorthy in his work on labour welfare.
He divides labour welfare into 2 broad categories:
1. Welfare measures inside the work place and
2. Welfare measures outside the work place.
1. Welfare Measures inside the Work Place:
(i) Conditions of work environment –
(a) Neighbourhood safety and cleanliness.
(b) Up-keeping campus, walls, gardens, doors etc.
(c) Workshop sanitation, temperature and humidity control, lighting, ventilation, elimination of dust and smoke.
(d) Control of effluents.
(e) Comfort during work, i.e., good seating arrangements.
(f) Work distribution genuine i.e. time for lunch break, rest hours, coffee break etc.
(g) Workman safety measures.
(h) Supply of necessary beverages.
(i) Safety measures like guards, helmets, aprons, goggles etc. to be provided to employees for safety.
(ii) Conveniences like Toilets, Restrooms, Wash basin, Water cooler, Canteen etc., Management of workers cloak room and library.
(iii) Worker’s health safety measures, e.g. Factory health centre, medical exam for workers, education, research etc.
(iv) Women and Child welfare – Antenatal and postnatal care, maternity aid, creche, and child care, women’s education facility, separate tea rooms, wash rooms, recreation rooms, family planning services etc.
(v) Worker’s recreation facilities like clubs, indoor games etc.
(vi) Employment follow up, e.g. Making an effort to see whether trainees have adjusted to the organizational culture or not. If not, help them in being comfortable.
(vii) Economic services – co-operative loans, grants, thrifts and saving schemes, pensions, rewards, transport facilities, compensation for injury.
(viii) Labour-Management participation – Formation and working of certain committees like safety committee, works committee, consultation in area of public relations etc.
(ix) Workers education – reading room, library, visual education, adult education, factory news bulletin etc.
2. Welfare Measures outside Workplace:
(i) Houses, bachelor’s quarters.
(ii) Water, sanitation, waste disposal.
(iii) Roads, parks, lightings, gardens etc.
(iv) Schools, nurseries, banks, transport etc.
(v) Health and medical services like hospitals, dispensary, emergency ward etc.
(vi) Gymnasium, study circles.
(vii) Watch and ward security.
(viii) Recreation – games, clubs, craft centres, cultural programs i.e. music clubs, interest and hobby circles, festival celebrations, study circles, library, swimming pool theatre etc.
(ix) Community leadership development, committee of representatives, women’s club etc.
Welfare Facilities and Statutory Provisions
Under the various labour laws, the employer is required to provide various welfare facilities to their employees. Most of the labour welfare.
Basically he divided all the welfare measures into two categories i.e. –
i) Welfare measures inside the workplace and
ii) Welfare measures outside the workplace
Each of this category includes several welfare activities.
I) Intra – Mural Welfare Measures
A) Working Condition:
1) Safety and cleanliness at work place.
2) Housekeeping includes compound wall, gardens, lawns, passage and doors, whitewash of walls and floor maintenance.
3) Workshop sanitation and its cleanliness, temperature, humidity, ventilation, lighting, proper disposal of dust, smoke, fumes, gases.
4) Proper control of effluents.
5) Comfort and convenience during work.
6) Standard work hours and provision of rest rooms during rest hours, meal times and breaks.
7) Providing safety measures such as guards, helmets, aprons, goggles, fencing of machines, well maintenance of machines and tools, first aid equipment.
8) Supply of essential beverages and pills and tablets i.e. salt tablets, milk, tea, coffee etc.
9) Display of notice boards at prime location i.e. posters, pictures, slogans, information or communication.
1) Proper arrangement of drinking water (purified) and water coolers.
2) At Proper place arrangement of urinals and lavatories wash basins, bathrooms, spittoons, waste disposal.
3) Canteen which will provide full meal, mobile canteen.
4) Management of workers clock rooms, rest rooms, reading rooms and library.
C) Workers Health Services:
Factory ambulance, emergency aid, health centre, medical examination of workers, health education and research, family planning services.
Maternity leave and aid, creche and child care, education for women, separate lunch rooms, urinals, rest rooms, recreation (indoor) family planning services.
By arranging indoor games.
F) Economics Services:
It includes credit and cash co-operatives, loans, advances, saving, schemes, unemployment insurance health insurance, profit sharing, bonus schemes, provident fund, gratuity and pension, transport services, rewards and incentives, workmen’s compensation etc.
Formation of works committee suggestion scheme, employee consultation in welfare, production, administration and public relation areas, workers arbitration council, research bureau.
It includes reading rooms, library, adult education, social education women education, daily news review, factory news bulletin.
II) Extra- Mural Welfare Measures:
It includes the services and facilities outside the factory such as, housing accommodation, indoor and outdoor recreation facilities like games, clubs, cultural programmes, festival celebration, swimming pool, music clubs, reading rooms and library, hobby circles, transport, bank, schools, educational facilities, amusement and sports and like.
Labour Welfare – 5 Main Agencies Engaged in Labour Welfare in India
In India, the main agencies engaged in labour welfare include:
(a) Central government;
(b) State governments;
(d) Trade unions or employees’ organisations; and
(e) Non-government organisations (NGOs).
The contribution of these agencies is briefly discussed below:
The Central Government has passed a number of Acts for the welfare of different types of workers. It also administers the implementation of industrial and labour laws. The important Acts which incorporate measures for the welfare of the workers are – Factories Act, Indian Mines Act, Employment of Children Act, Maternity Benefits Act, Plantation Labour Act, etc.
Under these Acts, employers have to provide certain basic welfare facilities to the workers. For example, under the Factories Act, 1948, employer has to provide canteen, rest and lunch rooms, crèches, medical aid, proper lighting, ventilation, drinking water, etc. at the work place. Appointment of Welfare Officer is also made compulsory. In the case of coal mines, the provision of welfare fund has been made.
It is called Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund. This fund is to be utilised for providing housing, medical, educational and recreation facilities to the workers in mines. Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund has been constituted under the Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1946. The government also provides housing, medical care, canteens, educational aid etc. to the workers employed in public sector enterprises.
The implementation of many provisions of various labour laws rests with the State Governments. The State Governments run health centres, educational centres, etc., for the welfare of the workers. They also keep a vigil on the employers that they are operating the welfare schemes made obligatory by the Central or State Government.
The State Governments have been empowered to prescribe rules for the welfare of workers and appoint appropriate authorities for the enforcement of welfare provisions under various laws.
Many employers provide voluntarily welfare facilities alongwith the statutory welfare facilities. These include residential accommodation to employees, medical and transport facilities, reading rooms, scholarships to children of workers, patronise teams of employees for hockey, football, etc. Employers can provide welfare facilities individually or collectively i.e., through their associations.
Employers have to play a major role in providing welfare facilities to industrial workers. The welfare facilities offered by the employers on their own are called voluntary welfare facilities. Some associations of employers also provide welfare facilities collectively. They include Bombay Millowners’ Association and Indian Jute Mills Association.
Trade unions are supposed to raise the welfare of workers and naturally they are expected to provide certain welfare facilities to their members. Unions can provide educational, cultural and other facilities to their members. In Bombay, some unions provide sports and educational facilities. Co-operative stores are also run by some unions.
Some trade unions like the Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh are doing good work in the field of labour welfare. In addition, Textile Labour Association, Ahmedabad provides certain facilities like schools, social centres, libraries; legal aid, etc. to the textile workers.
Thus, Textile Labour Association of Ahmedabad is doing good work in the field of labour welfare. On the whole, the role of trade unions in the field of labour welfare is insignificant as they face the problem of shortage of funds in providing welfare services to their members.
Several non-government or voluntary organisations conduct social welfare activities which are useful to all sections of the society including industrial workers. These agencies provide medical aid, educational facilities, scholarships, etc. However, the contribution of such organisations in labour welfare is not so significant.
Labour Welfare – Benefits: To Employees, To Employers and To Society
The following points highlight the significance of labour welfare:
1. Benefits to Employees:
i. Providing physical and mental health to workers and keeping them happy.
ii. Keeping the employees contended by providing housing facilities, medical facilities, education and recreation facilities.
iii. Bringing about improvements in material, intellectual and cultural conditions of employees.
iv. Weaning the employees from drug or drinking addiction through counselling.
v. Heightening the morale of employees.
2. Benefits to Employers:
i. Enhancing productivity and efficiency of employees by improving their physical and mental health.
ii. Enhancing the employer branding in the market.
iii. Improving industrial peace.
iv. Checking or containing, the turnover of employees.
v. Controlling absenteeism in the facility.
vi. Improving job satisfaction of employees.
3. Benefits to Society:
Labour welfare is also in the interest of the larger society, because the efficiency and happiness of each individual represents the general well-being of all. Well-housed, well-fed and well-looked after labour is not only an asset to the employer but also serves to raise the standards of industry and labour in the country.