Top 10 Private Employee Rights Under Labor Law in India
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Top 10 Private Employee Rights Under Labor Law in India

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As an employee, it is crucial to have a good understanding of your rights and protections under the labour laws in India. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting your career, being aware of these laws can help you navigate the complexities of the employment landscape and ensure that your rights are upheld. In this blog, we will explore the important rights of private employees protected by Indian labour laws and shed light on various aspects of employment agreements, maternity benefits, provident fund, gratuity, timely and fair salary, appropriate working hours and overtime, leaves, and prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace.

Employment Agreement: Understanding Your Rights and Obligations

An employment agreement is a crucial document that outlines the terms of your employment, including compensation, place of work, designation, work hours, and other important details. It is essential to carefully review and understand the agreement before signing it, as it sets the foundation for your employment relationship with the employer. The agreement also establishes the rights and obligations of both the employer and the employee, ensuring transparency and clarity in the employment arrangement.

However, it is essential to note that not all employment agreements are created equal. Some agreements may be one-sided, favoring the employer and placing the employee at a disadvantage in case of a dispute. It is crucial to be vigilant while reviewing the agreement and seek legal advice if necessary to ensure that your rights are protected.

Maternity Benefits: Protecting the Rights of Female Employees

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, provides crucial protections for female employees in establishments. The act ensures that female employees receive prenatal and postnatal benefits, including paid leave during pregnancy and after childbirth. In recent amendments, the duration of paid leave for pregnant female employees has been increased to 26 weeks, with eight weeks of postnatal paid leave.

In cases of complicated pregnancies, deliveries, premature births, or medical terminations, female employees are entitled to additional paid leave. However, it is important to note that female employees cannot be discharged or dismissed from their employment on account of such absence. Employers are also prohibited from re-employing female employees within six weeks of delivery or miscarriage. Even if an employee is dismissed, she can still claim her maternity benefits.

It is worth mentioning that while the Maternity Benefit Act provides extensive protections for female employees, there is currently no provision for paid paternity leave for male employees in India. The Central Government provides child care leave and paid paternal leave, but it remains a discretionary right of the employer in the private sector.

Provident Fund: Securing Your Retirement Benefits

The Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is a national organization responsible for managing the retirement benefits scheme for all salaried employees in India. If you work in an organization with more than 20 employees, your employer is legally required to register with EPFO.

The EPFO scheme allows employees to contribute a portion of their salary to a provident fund, which serves as a retirement savings account. Both the employer and the employee contribute 12% of the basic salary to this fund. It is important for employers to fulfill their obligation to contribute to the provident fund, as failure to do so can result in legal consequences.

While the EPFO scheme offers retirement benefits, it is important to note that withdrawing funds from the provident fund is subject to certain rules and regulations. Employees can only withdraw a limited amount for emergent needs and necessary expenses after a waiting period of up to two months. Early withdrawals, before completing five years of service, may also be subject to taxation.

Gratuity: Recognizing Your Service

The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, provides a statutory right to employees who have served for more than five years to receive gratuity. Gratuity is a lump sum payment made to employees as a gesture of gratitude for their service. The amount of gratuity increases with each year of service and increment.

It is important to note that the right to gratuity may be forfeited if an employee is dismissed for proven lawless or disorderly conduct. However, in most cases, employees are entitled to receive gratuity upon retirement or resignation, provided they have completed the required years of service.

Timely and Fair Salary: Ensuring Your Remuneration

One of the fundamental rights of an employee is to receive timely and fair remuneration for their work. Article 39(d) of the Indian Constitution provides for equal pay for equal work. The Equal Remuneration Act and the Payment of Wages Act further mandate that employees receive their salaries on time and in accordance with the employment agreement.

If an employee is not receiving their remuneration as per the agreed terms, they have the right to approach the Labour Commissioner or file a civil suit for arrears in salary. It is also important to note that employees are entitled to receive wages not less than the legal minimum wages as per the law.

Appropriate Working Hours and Overtime: Balancing Work and Life

All employees have the right to work in a safe workplace with basic amenities and hygiene. The Factories Act and the Shop and Establishment Acts (state-wise) protect the rights of workers and non-workmen by setting limits on working hours and ensuring appropriate work-life balance.

Under these laws, adult workers are generally allowed to work for a maximum of nine hours per day or 48 hours per week, with overtime wages paid at double the regular rate. Female workers have specific working hour restrictions, with an option to work until 9:30 pm upon explicit permission, overtime payment, and safe transportation facilities. Child workers are subject to even stricter limitations, with a maximum of 4.5 hours of work per day.

Additionally, employees are entitled to weekly holidays, mandatory breaks, and limitations on the number of hours worked in a day. These provisions aim to promote a healthy work-life balance and ensure the well-being of employees.

Leaves: Taking Time Off When Needed

Employees have the right to avail of paid public holidays and various types of leaves, including casual leave, sick leave, privilege leave, and other leaves as specified by the employment agreement or applicable laws. The exact entitlement to leaves may vary based on the duration of employment and the specific terms of the agreement.

For every 240 days of work, an employee is entitled to 12 days of annual leave. Adult workers may avail one earned leave every 20 days, while young workers may be entitled to 15 days. During the notice period, employees can also take leaves for emergencies, provided the employment agreement does not prohibit or restrict this right.

Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace: Ensuring a Safe Work Environment

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, aims to protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace. This act mandates the establishment of internal complaint committees in organizations with ten or more employees.

These committees are responsible for addressing complaints of sexual harassment and ensuring a safe working environment for women. The law also requires organizations to have a grievance redressal policy and mechanism in place, outlining what constitutes sexual harassment, the penalties for such behavior, and the redressal process. The committee should include a senior woman employee, two other employees, and a non-governmental member.

It is essential for both employers and employees to be aware of the provisions of this act and take appropriate measures to prevent and address any instances of sexual harassment in the workplace.


Being aware of your rights and protections as a private employee under Indian labour laws is crucial for a successful and fulfilling career. Understanding employment agreements, maternity benefits, provident fund, gratuity, timely and fair salary, appropriate working hours and overtime, leaves, and prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace can help you navigate the employment landscape with confidence.

While this guide provides a comprehensive overview of various aspects of labour laws, it is important to seek legal advice or refer to the specific laws and regulations for detailed information. Remember, knowledge is power, and being well-informed about your rights and obligations as an employee is essential for a successful and rewarding professional journey.

For the latest updates on labour laws and legal education, visit Legalstix Law School. With experienced faculty members and comprehensive courses, Legalstix Law School is committed to providing flexible and comprehensive legal education to ambitious law students. Join the Legalstix Law School community today and stay ahead in your legal career.

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