Labour welfare refers to all such services,amenities
and facilities to the employees that improves their working conditions
as well as standard of living. The term labour welfare bears a different
interpretation from country to country and from time to time, and even
in the same country, according to its value system, social institution,
degree of industrialisation and general level of social and economic development.
Generally, the labour welfare services are divided into two groups:-
- Welfare within the precincts of an establishment - It
includes medical aid, creches, canteens, supply of clean drinking water,
health services, uniforms and protective clothing, rest shelters, etc.
It is the employer's responsibility to provide these facilities to his/
her employees and several legislations have been enacted to set certain
minimum standards for provision of these facilities.
- Welfare outside the establishment - It includes social
insurance measures like gratuity,pension fund, provident fund,etc; educational
facilities; housing facilities; recreational facilities; workers' cooperatives;
vocational training, etc.
In order to extend a measure of social assistance to workers
in the unorganised sector, the concept of 'Labour
Welfare Fund' was evolved. Accordingly, five welfare funds have been
set up under the Ministry
of Labour and Employment to provide housing, medical care, educational
and recreational facilities to workers employed in beedi industry, certain
non-coal mines and cine workers. These funds are financed out of the proceeds
of cess levied under respective Cess/Fund Acts. The various legislation
so enacted include:-
The above Acts provide that the fund may be applied by
the Central Government to meet the expenditure incurred in connection
with measures and facilities which are necessary to provide the welfare
of the respective workers.
Welfare Organization administers these funds and is headed by a Director
General (Labour Welfare) / Joint Secretary. He is assisted by the
Welfare Commissioner (Headquarters) of Director rank, who supervises nine
Welfare Commissioners for the purpose of administration of these funds
in the States. These offices of regional Commissioners are located at
Allahabad, Bangalore, Bhilwara, Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Jabalpur,
Karma (Jharkhand) and Nagpur. They are responsible for providing welfare
facilities to the workers employed in mica, limestone and dolomite, iron
ore, manganese and chrome ore mines and in the beedi and cinema industries.
The Chief Adviser (Labour Welfare) supervises the functioning
of Assistant Labour Welfare Commissioners (ALWCs), Deputy Labour Welfare
Commissioners (DLWCs) and Labour Welfare Commissioners (LWCs). The ALWCs
and DLWCs are posted in Defence and other establishments, such as, CPWD,
Security Presses, Mints, Ordnance Factories, Telecom Factories, and Hospitals
etc., which are under the control of Central Government. The LWCs are
posted at the Head Quarters of these establishments. Together these officers
ensure harmonious Industrial Relations in their respective establishments.
They also look after the welfare and redressal of grievances of the workers,
administration of Welfare Schemes and advise the managements on various
Labour Matters including constitution of bilateral committees, such as,
Shop Councils, Works Committees etc.
The scheme of Welfare Funds is outside the framework of
specific employer and employee relationship, in as much as the resources
are raised by the Government on a non-contributory basis and delivery
of welfare services affected without linkage to individual worker’s
To advise the Central Government on matters related to
administration of the above Funds, tripartite Central Advisory Committees
have been set up under the respective Welfare Fund Acts. These Committees
are headed by Union Labour & Employment Minister.