The disabled and the labour laws
✓ Do the disabled have the right of employment?
✓ Do they have the right to be employed in jobs where their disability does not interfere with the discharge of their duties?
✓ Do the disabled workmen have any special rights in labour law?
✓ What if a non disabled employee becomes disabled in the course of employment?
✓ What right does a workman have who becomes disabled outside his employment?
✓ Has the law made any provisions to take care of the legal rights of the disabled employees?
These are many of the questions that arise when we talk of the disabled in relation to the labour laws.
The labour laws of our country aim at creating harmonious industrial relations between the management and the workmen and secure congenial and safe working conditions for the workmen, and provide for their health and security.
✓ These laws apply equally to the disabled and the non-disabled in general.
✓ There may be special provisions made for the benefit of disabled workmen such as :
° job quota for the disabled,
° reservation of particular
° jobs for the disabled,
° concessions in the performance and output of the disabled,
° adjustment of working conditions for the disabled,
° particular relief and considerations for the disabled in the matter of :
timings of work,
travel to and fro to work,.
medical attention for the disabled.
• The rights of the disabled have not been spelt out so well in the labour legislations but provisions which cater to the disabled in their relationship with the employer are contained in delegated legislations such as rules , regulations and standing orders.
✓ A disabled employer may have some preference for the disabled employees.
✓ A worker in a factory loses one arm in a factory accident disabling him from the work he was doing. He is then taken in as a lift man which he can operate with one hand.
✓ A driver of a transport company permanently damages his legs in a road accident on duty. He is adjusted in a table work.
✓ A person becomes disabled during employment and the employer cannot adjust him anywhere. What would be the nature of compensation which the employer must hand out before asking the disabled worker to leave?
• Some of the rights of workers who become disabled during the course of employment are entitled to compensation as per the :
Workmen’s compensation Act, 1930
and are entitled to treatment under the :
Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.
• The service rules of the Government provide that :
✓ an employee who becomes disabled should be adjusted in a post where his disability will not prevent him from rendering work.
• Employers generally do not take responsibility for the worker who becomes disabled by any accident or event incurred outside his employment hours.
• The law supports the employer in his legal stand. It is only compassion which can persuade the employer to continue with such disabled worker after adjusting him in a suitable work.
• There is therefore a need for the law to make provisions for the worker in such circumstances. The rights of the disabled employees must balance with the need of the employers and their work situation.
• Deprivation of work due to disability should be ruled out.