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Interns and Labour Laws.


This Blog discusses the lack of protection afforded to interns (especially in fields like law and engineering) despite the existence of a number of legislations falling under labour laws in India and the risks that it imposes.


In an increasingly saturated job market, in just about every sector one can think of, fresh graduates are now tasked with not only accumulating educational qualifications but also job experience before they can get a job. As paradoxical as it sounds, this is not just an invisible requirement by employers but sanctioned by statutory bodies like the University Grants Commission (Minimum of one-month or three months internships) and All India Council for Technical Education (minimum period of three months).


Thus a considerable number of interns are in the system, yet there are no laws in India that protect or govern them. Labour Laws generally pertain to physical work done in exchange for wages covering Industrial relations, workplace safety and employment standards (e.g. holidays, wages etc). These are a body of laws, administrative rulings and precedent which is binding on working people and their organizations. Firstly, labour laws address the three-way relationship between employer, employee and union and secondly, these laws are concerned with the employee’s rights at work. Both the Central and the State government are competent to enact legislation in this regard.


Labour Laws may be classified under the following heads:


I. Laws related to Industrial Relations such as:

1. Trade Unions Act, 1926

2. Industrial Employment Standing Order Act, 1946.

3. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.


II. Laws related to Wages such as:

4. Payment of Wages Act, 1936

5. Minimum Wages Act, 1948

6. Payment of Bonus Act, 1965.

7. Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958


III. Laws related to Working Hours, Conditions of Service and Employment such as:

8. Factories Act, 1987.

9. Plantation Labour Act, 1951.

10. Mines Act, 1952.

11. Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees’ (Conditions of Service

and Misc. Provisions) Act, 1955.

12. Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

13. Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961.

14. Beedi & Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966.

15. Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970.

16. Sales Promotion Employees Act, 1976.

17. Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.

18. Dock Workers (Safety, Health & Welfare) Act, 1986.

19. Building & Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.

20. Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996

21. Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981

22. Dangerous Machines (Regulation) Act, 1983

23. Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948

24. Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) (Inapplicability to Major Ports)Act, 1997

25. Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993

26. Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946

27. Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation Act, 1957

28. Plantation Labour Act, 1951

29. Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005


IV. Laws related to Equality and Empowerment of Women such as:

30. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

31. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.


V. Laws related to Deprived and Disadvantaged Sections of the Society such as:

32. Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976

33. Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986

34. Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933


VI. Laws related to Social Security such as:

35. Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923.