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Posted at: Dec 5, 2018, 12:29 AM; last updated: Dec 5, 2018, 12:29 AM (IST)LABOUR LAW

Be the workers’ voice

Be the workers’ voice
istock

S.K Sharma

Labour law and trade unions have been in existence in India since the colonial era after the British introduced a series of laws to regulate the working condition of labour in our country. Labour unions in the post-independence era have  raised their voice for the rights of workers and to ensure their freedom and rights, the Government of India came out with a set of laws to protect this community. Human resource or workforce is, undoubtedly, an important part of any country. They are the key agents of growth and economic stability. Thus, managing them with timely grievance redressal is of utmost importance. This requires domain experts and advocates. Today, labour law has become one of the most interesting specialised areas of study and also a great career choice for students in India. 

Getting in

Although as a lawyer, you must possess many years of post secondary study coupled with practical experience, but for starters, a student must finish his/her law school and pass the state bar exam before practising law. And a labour lawyer  must specialise in legal proceedings that encompass employers and employees, mainly. However, in India, very few programmes are available that have a direct focus on labour law. A law school student should, therefore, look for various labour law courses to become an expert in this domain. 

Students can pursue labour law training courses such as UG one-year diploma or Master of law (LL.M) in labour law from any of the renowned universities or institutes. Some of the best universities to pursue labour law in India are: Indian Law Institute, Delhi

  • Aligarh Muslim University, 
Aligarh

  • Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University New Law College, Pune
  • Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  • Mahatma Gandhi Labour Institute (MGLI), Ahmedabad
  • Faculty of Law, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Amity Law School, Delhi. 
So, after completing BA L.Lb, a student should choose labour law as his field of specialisation and make sure to take as many internships as possible. 

Work profile

As an advocate of labour laws, you will be responsible for resolving the complex issues between employer and employee at the workplace such as harassment, gender discrimination, and safeguarding workers’ rights. The problem, however, arises due to a dearth of knowledge about rights among the labour force. And this is where, you, as an advocate will be utilising all expertise and proficiency  gained during your labour law course and help the aggrieved individuals. 

Where to work

Those practising labour laws can work in all types of legal employment. For instance, they can work on behalf of the unions to negotiate a contract with  employers. They might also work on behalf of a corporation or organisation to deal with the union. In your work tenure, you might also get an opportunity to work for the the National Labour Relations Board. While working in this domain, you will come across various key topics such as employment contracts, health and safety, wage regulation, pensions and insurance, and trade union and collective action. 

After pursuing the essential degrees, students can go for a plethora of positions such as employee manager, consultant, HR manager, NGO worker, EPF officer, among others. The average salary package in these domains for fresh graduates will range from Rs 2.25 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh. 

Labour law vs employment law

Labour law involves dealing with unionised employees, their respective unions, and their employers; whereas employment law speaks of governing legal matters in the workplace. So, what does a labour lawyer do? S/he acts as a legal counselor for maintaining both employment and labour relations. For this, they must have good analytical skills, research and communication skills, problem-solving skills and most importantly, the talent to listen to their clients patiently. 

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