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INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYMENT (STANDING ORDERS) ACT, 1946

Updated: Jan 11

By

Kavya S. Suvarna, III year of B.A.,LL.B, from Sinhgad Law College Pune.


Before the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act came into force, there was a lot of exploitations faced by the employees at workplace by their employers or the managing authorities. The employment situation was chaotic, the employees were uninformed about their working conditions, the duration of work or even the facilities provided. This was mainly seen in the industrial sectors, where the employees were made to work for long hours, carrying out heavy workload. As a result of which, there was loss of industrial productivity and also disruption between the employers and the employees.


In order to bring this situation under control, a Labour Committee was created in 1944 that understood the entire problem of lack of communication between the employer and the employees regarding the employment condition in the industrial sector. The Labour Committee believed that the workers deserved to know all about the terms and conditions related to their employment. They even suggested a distinct central law which makes it obligatory for the employers to frame and approve all the employment conditions and get them enforceable by law. As a result of which the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act came into force on 23rd April, 1946.


The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 consists of 15 sections and also a schedule that is a model of the standing orders. This Act is applicable to the whole of India except for those mentioned under Article 13(B) of the Act. The Act makes it mandatory for the industrial establishments where 100 or more than 100 workmen are employed, to formally mention all the terms and conditions of employment with utmost precision and make sure that the employees are made known about the same before hiring them. The Government can also make this Act applicable to the Industrial establishments where less than 100 workmen are employed, by giving a ‘two months’ notice of its intention, in the Official Gazette.


The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act was brought about to bring uniformity amongst the employees and to minimize the conflicts between the employers and the employees and also to foster a good employment relationship between them. The Act made it possible for the employees to seek proper and just treatment and ensure good conditions of service from the employers.


Section 2(b) of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, mentions the ‘appropriate government’ that an industrial establishment is under. Under this act, Railway Administration, Major ports, mines and oil fields are under the control of the Central Government. Every other industrial establishment is under the control of the State Government.


Section 2(g) of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, describes “standing orders” as the rules relating to matters set out in the Schedule.

Matters to be provided in Standing Orders under this Act:

  • Classification of workmen, e.g., whether permanent, temporary, apprentices, probationers or badlis.

  • Manner of intimating to workmen periods and hours of work, holidays, pay-days and wage rates.

  • Shift working.

  • Attendance and late coming.

  • Conditions of, procedure in applying for, and the authority which may grant leave and holidays.

  • Requirement to enter the premises by certain gates, a liability to search.

  • Closing and reporting of sections of the industrial establishment, temporary stoppages of work and the rights and liabilities of the employer and workmen arising there from.

  • Termination of employment, and the notice thereof to be given by the employer and workmen.

  • Suspension or dismissal for misconduct, and acts or omissions which constitute misconduct.

  • Means of redress for workmen against unfair treatment or wrongful exactions by the employer or his agents or servants.

  • Any other matter which may be prescribed.

Section 3 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, makes it mandatory for the employer to submit five copies of ‘draft standing order’ to the Certifying Officer within six months of this act being applicable to the Industrial establishment. The ‘draft standing order’ must contain every matter mentioned in the Schedule and the Model Standing Order. This draft should also contain a statement of the details of the workmen employed in the Industrial establishment including the name of the trade union if they belong to any.


Section 5 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, describes the process of Certification of the Standing Order. The Certifying Officer is supposed to send a copy of the ‘draft standing order’ to the trade union of the workmen, if any, or to the workmen along with a notice for objection, if any, which should be submitted to him by the workmen within 15 days of receiving the notice. After making the necessary change according to the objections of the workmen, the Certifying Officer shall certify such a Standing Order within 7 days and send a copy of the ‘draft standing order’ to the employer and the trade union, if any.


Under Section 6 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, the employer, or the trade union or any other authority can appeal to the ‘appellate authority’ in case of objections with the ‘draft standing order’ within 30 days. After which, the changes/amendments made will be considered to be final. The ‘appellate authority’ after making the amendments is supposed to send the final copy to the parties within 7 days.


Section 8 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, states the Registration of the Standing order that is finalised, to be filed by the Certifying Officer in a register in a prescribed form. Anyone who seeks for a copy of the Standing Order can be provided with such, with a payment of a prescribed fee.


Under Section 9 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, the employer needs to post the Standing Order near the entrance of the industrial establishment, in English as well as the language understood by the employees.


Section 10 the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946- states the duration and modification of standing orders, whereby ones a standing order is certified, no modifications can be made until the expiry of 6 months from the date on which the standing order came into operation, unless an agreement between the employer and the employee or trade union or any other representative body is provided.


Section 13 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 mentions the penalties for the employer who fails to submit the draft standing order as per the requirements of Section 3 of the Act. Also, if the employer modifies the draft standing order, otherwise the provision given in Section 10 of the Act, he/she is punishable with a fine which may extend up to Rs. 5,000, and in case of continuous offence, fine of Rs. 200 every day from the first day till the offence continues. In case, the employer does not act according to the draft standing order, will be punished with a fine of Rs. 1000, and in case of a continuous offence, fine of Rs. 25 every day from the first day till the offence continues.


Section 15 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 empowers the Government to make rules for the purpose of the Act.

  1. prescribe additional matters to be included in the Schedule, and the procedure to be followed in modifying standing orders certified under this Act in accordance with any such addition

  2. set out model standing orders for the purposes of this Act

  3. prescribe the procedure of Certifying Officers and appellate authorities

  4. Prescribe the fee which may be charged for copies of standing orders entered in the register of standing orders

  5. provide for any other matter which is to be or may be prescribed


Provided that before any rules are made under clause (a) representatives of both employers and workmen shall be consulted by the appropriate Government.

The act was formed to regulate the relation between the workmen and the employer, so that the workmen’s get what they truly deserve without being exploited by the employers. Making sure that an environment is created by the employer at workplace in such a manner that every workmen or employee is treated equally and no discrimination of any kind is to be faced by them.