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Employment and exploitation are inseparable evils. They go hand in hand-Badar
INTRODUCTION Contract Labor in India is the most prevalent type of employment provided to the workers these days. Its significance is growing day by day. Often nowadays, companies or start-ups, hire workers on a contractual basis. Contractual employment is a temporary kind of employment. This type of employment is known as exploitation employment since workers have little bargaining power, less social security, and are often engaged in hazardous work.
In this kind of employment, the worker doesn’t get hired by permanent employment but by a contractor for a short duration of time. Here permanent employer means who has control over the company or startup.
A 2015 ICRIER Survey of the Manufacturing sector in Haryana shows that approximately 41% of the labor employed was contractual in nature. Indeed, half of the increase in total employment (from 7.7 million to 13.7 million) between 2000–01 and 2015–16 was built up by contractual workers, as per data from the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI). 
The act regulating contractual employment is the Contractual Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. It was enacted by Parliament in the 21st year of the Republic of India. There are many provisions in the act that is necessary to understand.
CONTRACTUAL LABOR (REGULATION AND ABOLITION) ACT, 1970
The act applies to the establishment which has more than 20 persons working in the company on a contractual basis. According to this act, a person who is directly employed by the contractor and not by the employer is said to be a contractual worker. Here contractor is a person who supplies the contractual labor to the principal employer.
In order to hire for contract labor, the contractor must obtain a license from the licensing officer of the local labor department. Also, the license obtained for the kind of work, the worker will be employed in that kind of work only and cannot be engaged in a different activity. The license granted is valid for 12 months and can be renewed.
RIGHTS OF CONTRACTUAL EMPLOYEE
As we know that contract labor is an unorganized form of employment. The reason why most establishments prefer this kind of employment is that they have to fulfill minimum requirements. This often results in the exploitation of these workers. The rights are given to the contractual employee so as to save themselves from the exploitation by the master. They are given rights relating to wages, essential facilities, hours of work and social security, etc.
· Rights relating to wages
According to the act, the contract laborers are entitled to wages along with overtime wages and allowances. It must be in accordance with The Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The wage period is to be fixed by the contractor and there should be no delay in providing wages after the wage period is over. Also, the wage period must not exceed one month.
If the contractor fails to provide the wages to the worker, then the principal employer has to provide the wages and allowances if any. He can deduct that amount from the salary of the contractor.
· Essential Facilities
The contractual employee is entitled to get essential facilities such as drinking water, cleanliness, ventilation and temperature, adequate space, latrines, and urinals. He/she must also provide facilities for washing & sitting, First Aid, Canteens, lunchrooms, and Creches. Women must be provided with separate washrooms. It is the duty of the contractor to provide the essential facilities to the workers and take care of the same.
· WORKING HOURS
According to the act, the worker can be employed to work for only 48 hours a week and 9 hours a day. If he/she does overtime then they are entitled to the extra allowances. Generally it is considered it is twice the ordinary rate. The period of the work must be notified to the worker by the contractual employer. The contractual worker is also entitled to an annual leave with wages if he/she has worked for 240 days.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONTRACT LABOR AND DIRECT LABOR
· The principal employer hires the worker in case of direct labor. There is no intermediate person to facilitate the hiring. But in the case of contract labor, the workers are hired by the contractual employer and not by the principal employer.
· The time period and nature of work in the case of contract labor is for the specific time period and there is a specific task in which the workers are employed but that is not the case in direct labor.
WHERE CONTRACTUAL EMPLOYEE CAN BE EMPLOYED?
The worker cannot be engaged in ‘core activities’ which are necessary activities of the establishment. Also, employment should be temporary in nature and not of continuing nature. This is done so that the workers are not exploited to do the work of permanent employees. However, they can be employed in certain ‘core activities’ of the firm which include:
· Sweeping, cleaning, and disposal of waste (sanitation work)
· Catering services
· Loading and unloading operations
· Courier services
· Gardening and maintenance of lawns
· Transport services
JUDGMENTS RELATED TO THE CONTRACTUAL EMPLOYMENT
The Judiciary has from time to time played an important role in bypassing various judgments related to the act and has shown concern for laborers. There are various interpretations made. These are as follows:
· In Gammon India Ltd. vs. Union of India , various provisions and interpretations were made in the Contract Labor Act, 1970. Various facilities such as payment of wages, the duty of contractor, and principal employer were interpreted broadly. The case also defined the constitutional validity of the Contract Labor statute as constitutionally valid.
· In the landmark case namely Steel Authority of India vs. National union of Water Front workers and others , the Supreme Court overruled the decision delivered in the Air India Statutory Corporation Case declaring that neither section 10 of the Act nor any other provision of the act whether expressly or by necessary implications provides for the automatic absorption of the contract labor. As a result, the principal employer cannot be required to absorb the contract labor working in the establishment.
CONCLUSION Hence, this type of employment is growing in nature. It is assuming various dimensions and the workers need to be protected from exploitation. And it is not only us who will protect them, but they themselves. For this, they need to make aware of their rights.
In such precedent times, when we are facing the Covid-19 pandemic, the condition of the workers has even worsened more. A lot of insecurities of being thrown out of the job or not being able to secure a job. Apart from insecurity, they have experienced extreme health issues and poverty. Safeguards need to be provided so that they aren’t further exploited.
NYAAYA,https://medium.com/nyaaya/contract-labour-in-india-understanding-the-legal-framework-c75145e31506, (Last visited on Jan 19, 2021)
 1974 SCC (L&S) 252
 AIR 2001 SC 3527
1. NYAAYA,https://medium.com/nyaaya/contract-labour-in-india-understanding-the-legal-framework-c75145e31506, (Last visited on Jan 19, 2021)
2. IPLEADERS,https://blog.ipleaders.in/regulatory-overview-of-contract-labour-in-india/#aoh=16109896402350&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s, (Last visited on Jan 19, 2021)