Moving to Decent Work- Re-evaluating Entitlements and Enforcements

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To become an economic superpower, we need to not only develop our industries but also improve our people practices and labour laws, significantly.

Moving to Decent Work –Re-evaluating Entitlements and Enforcements

India is today a recognized economic, intellectual, military, and cultural power. But are we a Superpower? Are we a trendsetter? Are we exporting opinions and influence?

On the Global Platform, power dynamics are shifting on one side, and on the other critical issues like Sustainability & Inclusivity needs real action. Are we activists and first-movers in this? Are we a trendsetter? Are we exporting opinions and influences, here too?

From being recognized as another power – to become an influencer – to actually being a trendsetter: the journey is one that will take Societal, Intellectual, Commercial and Political will. And we are some distance from being there. We may be moving ahead of the ‘Backoffice of the world’ phenomenon to intellectual hub for innovation but the journey is yet to get anywhere noteworthy.

India today, at this pivotal time has three major roles to play and missions to achieve:

  • Become a sizable global influencer and economic power
  • Be a trendsetter in the 17 UN sustainability goals
  • And in the process, significantly increase the entire nation’s quality of life

In this journey, it’s immensely critical that we talk and evolve some major changes in the Indian contribution to Economic Activities, Indian Context of Work1, and Working Conditions2To become an economic superpower, we need to not only develop our industries but also improve our people practices and labour laws, significantly.

Entitlements and Enforcements must soon be looked at by Policy Makers and Implementors jointly. Our constitution laid a beautiful foundation of a citizen’s entitlements and responsibilities now are the time to evolve that to the New Era.

And this is where Business and HR Leaders need to now step-up, beyond the transactional world of their organizations, and step-up to the governance world of how our country writes and lives by Entitlements and Enforcements (through action & thinking).

“India as an economic superpower and Indian workplace as a model of quality of life is going to be a very interconnected phenomenon going forward.”

We are at a place where work has changed, so have work environments. We are in times where the contribution is defined very differently, and so are contributors. We have seen the evidence of crisis and what could be critical to survival and thriving. Workplace hazards are not coming from machines or material alone, they are also coming from work, and the working styles. Sectors like IT which were significant exceptions3 given are today more dangerous to wellbeing than are the factories. India has enough invisible victims, as many have indicated4.

Hence, for a better quality of life in our workplaces:

  • All our labour, factory and shops and establishment acts need a significant revamp.
  • Simplification and universal application of policy needs to be looked at.
  • Must significantly increase the baseline of practices, mandatory for a healthy workplace.
  • The scope for interpretation must be brought down significantly by the joint actions of all.

Only healthy and happy human beings can be competitive in the long run. The Sustainable development goals5,6 is an indicator towards this, and specifically Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

And the Concept of Decent Work goes even deeper into evaluating these. UN and ILO call out that our focus needs to move to:

UN and ILO have called for Decent work to make the world sustainable, and a better place.

And with all that has been happening, in India, it’s time for us to take a deeper look at the fact that:

  • We have a non-standard policy coverage and enforcement across industries
  • Robotics and automation have been causing fears of job losses
  • Changing focus from location to methodologies have been making people redundant faster
  • Technologies like Driverless cars can pose a challenge to a population intensive workforce like India
  • A crisis like COVID have created unusual working conditions like WFH for some – and work in the risk zone for others

It is time Business Leaders and HR Leaders get into discussion both inside and outside the organization on major issues like:

  1. Leadership & Managerial Practices in the new world
  2. Work and working conditions for all
  3. Ethics of management and everyday work
  4. Compensation policies in the new normal
  5. Sick Leave, Privilege Leave, and other entitlements of absence
  6. Definition and measurement of development, performance etc.

Going forward major focus is required on working relationships, distress allowance, leave policy, work hours, statutory entitlements, disciplinary policy, privacy, confidentiality, use of assets, reimbursements, etc… and this is just an indication.

The answers will only start coming in.

But this time can we come together to find answers for INDIA SHINING – a perfect play between Policy Makers and Policy Implementors?

There are many perspectives to come from.

But this time can we drop communism, socialism, and capitalism – and have a play between HUMANISM & PLANETISM?

We must rise now for ourselves as a human race, and for Planet Earth. It’s no more a Utopian Purposefulness. It is going to be fundamental Survival and Transactional Reality. Can we as leaders in India, take a pledge, and do this?

Bibliography- 1: What is Decent Work?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZpyJwevPqc 2: Working conditions in India – Working customs, hours, salaries: https://www.justlanded.com/english/India/India-Guide/Jobs/Working-conditions-in-India 3: Nizami, Nausheen. (2017). Measuring the Gap Between Labour Laws and Work in India’s IT Industry and Policy Directions. The Indian Journal of Labour Economics. 60. 10.1007/s41027-017-0087-y. 4: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/accidents-at-workplaces-in-india-under-reported-38-per-day-in-construction-sector-study-4947079 5: https://www.globalgoals.org/ 6: https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/sdg-2030/goal-8/lang–en/index.htm

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