- The Union Ministry of Labour has urged States to issue orders permitting fixed-term employment (FTE) across industries.
- Fixed-term employment is a contract in which a company or an enterprise hires an employee for a specific period of time.
- Under fixed-term employment, workers are entitled to statutory benefits available to a permanent worker in the same factory, including work hours, wages, and allowances.
- In March 2018, the Centre notified FTE under which workers will be entitled to benefits available to permanent workers.
- The notification does not permit conversion of permanent posts into FTE ones but is aimed at turning contract workers into FTE ones.
- FTEs are expected to improve working conditions in industries, boost employment and execute specific projects efficiently in sectors like infrastructure.
- The present FTE rules are not clearly defined. They do not mention minimum or maximum term of an FTE and the maximum permissible number of consecutive FTEs.
- According to informal reports, industries are reluctant to provide FTEs due to rising costs and obligations
- States are not bound to accept the notification as FTE has been notified by an executive order, without the Parliament ratifying it. This is because labour is a Concurrent List subject, as per which the States are bound only by a central law.
- In order to promote employment through FTEs, the FTE norms should be laid down in a transparent and consensual manner
- Labour reforms should be accompanied with better social safety net- it is important to ensure better state-funded health and educational opportunities
- The FTE norms should be made ratified by the parliament for universal adoption across industries and states.