Industrial Relations Code 2020

Industrial Relations Code, 2020: All You Need to Know!

This article on ‘Industrial Relations Code, 2020: All you need to know’ was written by Jignesh Parmar an intern at Legal Upanishad.


In this article, we will take a look at different aspects that lead to the creation of the Industrial Relations Code, 2020 and we will also take a look at missing aspects of the Industrial Disputes Act, The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act and The Trade Unions Act which is covered under the Industrial Relations Code, 2020

This Act creates expansion to a certain definition of the Industrial Disputes Act which helps to provide applicability to more industries.

Under the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, the concept for the creation of negotiating unions and councils has been provided and this code also provides the recognition of trade unions at the central level which will be discussed further in this article.

When were the Industrial Relations Code assigned and its major objectives?

The Industrial Relations Code received the assent on 28th September 2020 which contains the provisions of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, Trade Unions Act and Industrial Disputes Act.

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, was created with the objective of expanding certain definitions which will help to include workmen from outside the scope of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. So that any workmen won’t feel neglected and not have to fear the workload and disqualification. The code also provides central-level recognition for the trade union.

Amendments/Creation of certain major definitions which were concerned to Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

Changes in the definition of the term ‘Worker’

The definition of workmen is expanded in Industrial Relations Code. The definition included working journalists to a limited extent of the definition under section 2(f) of Working Journalist and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955. The definition of worker also included Sales Promotion Employees which is defined as per Section 2(d) of Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions and Service) Act, 1976. Further, the definition included a person whose earning is less than 18000 per month under ‘person employed in a supervisory capacity.

Changes in the definition of the term ‘Industry’

According to the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, several establishments such as khadi workers, educational and scientific institution and hospitals etc. which was excluded as industry after the judgment of the Supreme Court in 1983, has now been removed from the exceptions list as per the definition of industry.

Industrial Relations Code, 2020, only excludes institutions owned by the organization that is engaged in charitable and philanthropic activities, domestic services and any work of appropriate government related to paramount functions of appropriate government or any activity notified by the central government.

Changes in the definition of the term ‘Industrial Dispute’

The definition of ‘Industrial Dispute’ under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 had limited focus on disputes arising between ‘workers and employers’, ‘employers and employers’ and ‘workers and workers’. The provision for individual workman dispute was in section 2A of the ID Act, 1947. But in Industrial Relations Code, 2020, the term industrial dispute has been expanded and it covers individual workman disputes regarding any discharge, termination etc. as well.

Changes in the definition of the term ‘Strike’

The Definition of the strike is expanded as well which from now will also include the concerned leave taken on a given day of a strike by more than fifty percent of employees on a casual basis.

Changes in the definition of the term ‘Employer’

The new definition of employer under this code also includes contractor, legal representative of a deceased person, and the person who has a major role over the business of establishment and where the said work is provided to the manager or managing director, then such managing director or manager can be defined as an employer.

The term ‘employer’ also includes the owner of the factory as per section 2(w) of the Factories Act and the person who is appointed as a manager of the factory as per 7(1)(f) of the Factories Act.

Definition of ‘Fixed Term Employment’

The Industrial Relations Code introduced a new definition of called ‘fixed-term employment’ mainly dealing with the engagement of workers on basis of the registered contract of employment for a decided period. The term also provides a view of working hours and other benefits of workmen under fixed-term employment which should not be less than permanent workmen. The definition also cleared that the workmen under this category can also enjoy all the statutory benefits which are provided to permanent workmen.

Industrial Relations Code 2020
Industrial Relations Code 2020

Changes in the provision concerning the subjects related to ‘Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946’

The Industrial Relations Code provides that, for an industrial establishment, that has more than 300 workers, the employer of such establishment must draft the Standing Orders on a subject mentioned in the first schedule of the Industrial Relations Code. However, in Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, The number of workmen to be employed was more than 100.

The draft must be sent to Certifying Officer appointed under this act and he will forward the copies to the workman and the concerned trade union. The decision of Certifying Officer will be final but however, and the concerned trade unions and workmen have the right to appeal.

Notable Changes in the provision concerning the subjects related to ‘Industrial Disputes Act’

Prohibition of Strikes and Lockout

The Industrial Disputes Act already described the prohibition of strike and lock-out under section 22. But however, it was limited to public utility services. But in Industrial Relations Code, the conditions which were mentioned under section 22 will also be applicable to all industrial establishments such as, ‘No workmen/employer can conduct strike/lockout without giving prior notice within of sixty days before such strike/lockout and within 14 days after such notice. Provided that, the employer must consider before such lockout implementation.

Creation of Grievance Redressal Committee

The Industrial Relation Code provides that, establishments which are regulated under the provision of the Industrial Relations Code, 2020 and have 20 or more than 20 workers shall establish a Grievance Redressal Committee which must include an equal number of workmen and employers. It must be chaired by the worker-members in the committee. The committee shall also include an equal ratio of members of women employees employed in that particular industry.

Notable Changes with subjects related to ‘Trade Unions Act’

The Trade Unions Act was created to provide powers and functions to the trade union but not recognition. However certain states like Maharashtra have their MRTU and PULP Act, 1973 which provides recognition to trade unions but only at the state level.

The creation of the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, provides central level recognition for trade unions.

Appointment of Negotiating Union/Council

Negotiation union/council must be provided in an industrial establishment which must consist of a recognized trade union and if more than one recognized trade union, then the trade union consisting of more than 51% of workmen shall be considered. Further, if more than one trade union of workers and none of the trade union have fifty-one percent or above workmen then the council must consist of more than twenty percent of the total workers of that industry.

Re-skilling fund for workers

The Industrial Relations Code introduced the provision of Re-skilling for laid-off workers in every establishment so that, they might be able to secure their employment in future.


Workers are an essential part of any industrial establishment. The better conditions provided to them, the better result you will get in the relationship between employers and the workmen. Industrial Relations Code, 2020 was created by three main legislation Acts of labour law which were different and essential in their own particular way. The creation of the Industrial Relations Code provides vast scope to many terms and fields of labour law. It includes 104 sections which cover the majority of issues regarding employment. Essential disputes and recognition of trade unions at the central level are two major features of the Industrial Relations Code, 2020.