Principles and Theories of Labour Welfare

15th September 2022 0 By indiafreenotes

Labour welfare is also defined as “Anything done for the intellectual, physical, moral and economic betterment of the workers, whether by employers, by government or by other agencies over and above what is laid down by law or what is normally expected as part of the contractual benefits for which the workers may have bargained”. Another definition on labour welfare defines it as “ that cover all the efforts which employers make for the benefit of their employees over and above the minimum standard of working conditions fixed by the factories act and over and above the provision of social legislation providing against accident, old age, unemployment and sickness.” The most significant definitions describes labour welfare work as “ the voluntary effort of the employer to improve the living and working conditions of his employees, the underlying assumption of course being that the first essentials to the welfare of the employees are steady work, a fair wage and reasonable hours of labour .”

Principles of Labour Welfare

Principle of Social Responsibility: According to this principle, industry has an obligation towards its employees to look after their welfare and this is also backed by the constitution of India in its directive principles of the state policy.

Principles of Efficiency: Plays an important role in welfare services and is based on the relationship between welfare and efficiency, though it is difficult to measure this relationship. Whether one accepts the social responsibility of industry or not, the employer quite often accepts the responsibility for increasing such labour measures as would increase efficiency. For eg. Diet planning in canteens.

Principle of Adequacy of Wages: Labour welfare measures cannot be a substitute for wages, workers have a right to adequate wages, but high rate of wages alone cannot create a healthy environment nor would bring in commitment on the part of the workers. A combination of social welfare, emotional welfare and economic welfare together would achieve good results.

Principle of Re-personalisation: The development of human personality is found to be the goal of industrial welfare and this principle should counteract the baneful effects of the industrial system. Therefore it is necessary to implement labour welfare services, both inside and outside the factory.

Principle of Co-ordination: The concept of co-ordinated approach that will promote a healthy development of the worker in his work, home and community. This is essential for the sake of harmony and continuity in labour welfare services.

Principle of Democratic Values: Cooperation of the worker is the basis of this principle and thus consultation and the agreement of the workers in the formulation and implementation of the labour welfare services are very necessary for their success. Moreover workers allowed to participate in planning these programmes get keenly interested in their proper implementation. This principle is based on the assumption that the worker is a mature and rational individual and industrial democracy is the driving force here and workers also develop a sense of pride when they are made to feel that labour welfare programmes are created by them and for them.

Principle of Totality of Welfare: Emphasizes that the concept of labour welfare must spread throughout the hierarchy of an Organisation and employees at all levels must accept this total concept of labour welfare without which the labour welfare would not be implemented.

Principles of Responsibility: Recognises the fact that both employers and workers are responsible for labour welfare. Trade unions too are involved in these programmes in a healthy manner, for basically labour welfare belongs to the domain of the trade union activity. Further, when responsibility is shared by different groups, labour welfare work becomes simpler and easier. Accordingly various committees are elected or nominated and various powers and responsibilities in the welfare field are delegated to them. For Eg. Safety committee, the canteen supervision committee etc.,

Principle of Accountability: Here one responsible person gives an assessment or evaluation of existing welfare services on a periodical basis to a higher authority. In these criteria one judges the success of labour welfare programmes.

Principle of Timeliness: The timeliness of any service helps in its success. To identify the labour problem and to discover what kind of help is necessary so solve it and when to provide this help are all very necessary in planning labour welfare programmes.

Principle of Self Help: Labour welfare must aim at helping workers to help themselves in the long run. This helps them to become more responsible and more efficient.

Theories of Welfare

The Religious Theory: Propounded on the concept that a man is essentially a religious animal. Even today many acts of man are related to religious sentiments and beliefs. Hence these religious feelings sometimes prompt an employer to take up welfare activities in the expectation of future benefits either in his life or in some future life. According to the theory, any good work is considered an investment both the benefactor and the beneficiary are rewarded, based on this philosophy many charitable and other religious institutions have come into existence. Another aspect of the religious theory is the atonement aspect, as some people take up welfare work in a spirit of atonement for their sins and any welfare act is treated either as an investment or atonement.

The Police Theory: Based on the contention that a minimum standard of welfare is necessary for labourers. The theory assumes that without compulsion, periodical supervision and fear of punishment, employers will not be ready to provide even the minimum welfare amenities. The welfare state has to step in to prevent the atrocities and exploitation and force industrialists to offer minimum standard of welfare to their workers.

Philanthropic Theory: Based on mans love for mankind. Man is believed to have an instinctive urge by which he strives to remove the suffering of others and promote the well being and this being very powerful drive it impels him to perform noble sacrifices. Thus the labour welfare movement began in the early years of the industrial revolution with support of Robert Owen and in India the movement began with the ardent support of Mahatma Gandhi, who strove for the welfare of the labour.

The Placating Theory: Based on the act that labour groups are becoming demanding and militant. They are more conscious of their rights and privileges than ever before. Their demand for higher wages and better standards cannot be ignored and hence it said that the timely and periodical acts of labour welfare can appease the workers.

Public Relations Theory: Provides the basis for an atmosphere of goodwill between labour and management and also between management and the public. Labour welfare programmes under this theory work as a sort of an advertisement and help an industrialist to build up good and healthy public relations. The theory is based on the assumption that the labour welfare movement may be utilized to improve relations between management and labour. Thus an advertisement of the industrialist in promoting labour welfare schemes may improve his relations with the public and at the same time these kind of programmes may lack sincerity and continuity as such programmes when loses its advertisement value may become redundant and be withdrawn or even abandoned may become only a publicity stunt rather than labour welfare.

Trusteeship Theory: Also called as paternalistic theory of labour welfare says that the industrialist or employer holds the total industrial estate, properties and profits accruing from them in trust. Hence he uses them for himself and for the benefit of his workers and for the society. Here the workers are treated as minors and they are ignorant because they lack in education and they are not able to look after themselves. Therefore employers have the moral responsibility to look after the interest of their wards who are the workers. Here there is no binding or obligation legally but only morality issues are raised. Here, the welfare of the labour depends on the initiative of the top management and more related to moral conscience of the industrialists and hence may create a good will between the labour and management.

The Functional Theory: Also known as efficiency theory, welfare work is used as a means to secure, preserve and develop the efficiency and productivity of labour. It is obvious that if an employer takes good care of these workers, they will tend to become more efficient and will thereby step up production. Thus this depends on the healthy relationship between the union and management and their mutual concern for the growth and development of the industry.