In small and medium enterprises, the situation is one of total anarchy so far as contract labour employment is concerned.
This paper examines the legal framework of contract labour regulation and its working in the Indian context.
Constitutional Values & Contract Labour Regulation
So as to operationalize this constitutional commitment, the National Commission on Labour (Government of India 1969) had recommended to Parliament the passing of a legislation envisaging regulation and prohibition of the employment of contract labour.
This legislation aimed at regulating the conditions under which the contract labour works and also provides for the abolition of the contract labour system wherever possible and practicable.
3) Principal employers that do not register themselves under the Act cannot employ contract labour in their establishments.
The principal employer is obliged under the CLA to ensure that wages have been paid to the contract labour in the presence of its (principal employer's) authorized representative.
The CLA also provides that the appropriate government can prohibit the employment of contract labour in any operations, processes or other work.
The central government has so far issued 76 notifications under section 10 of this Act (7) prohibiting employment of contract labour since the enactment of the CLA (Government of India 2009).
The period and norms of contract labour depends on the term and conditions of the contract or work/job between the Principal Employer and the contractor/worker.
As per Rule 25(2) of the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Central Rules, 1971, the wages of the contract labour shall not be less than the rates prescribed under Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and in cases where the contract workers perform the same or similar kind of work as the workmen directly employed by the principal employer of the establishment, the wage rates, holidays , hours of work and other conditions of service shall be the same as applicable to the workmen directlyemployed by the principal employer doing the same or similar kind of work.
In an impact study conducted by VV Giri National Labour Institute revealed that the contract labour are being paid less wages than the wages given to the regular workers of Principal Employer even though contract labour perform same or similar kind of work.
Apart from the prosecutions, Central Government has prohibited employment of contract labour in various establishments in central sphere through 84 Notifications issued from time to time under the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970.