PIBFactCheck, the fact-checking arm of Press Information Bureau of govt of India has said that a Business Standard report on reskilling retrenched workers is fake. The official Twitter handle of PIBFactCheck said that the article is factually incorrect, and it wrongly makes assumptions on rules which are yet to be framed.
On 12th October, Business Standard had published a report titled “Show proof of reskilling or refund: Retrenched workers face Hobson’s choice,” where it had claimed that retrenched workers who take cash benefits from the new reskilling fund mooted in the labour codes may have to show proof of reskilling to the government.
The report had said that if such workers are unable to reskill within a fixed period of time, they will have to return the money given to them by the govt. The report had said that this is according to a proposal being contemplated by the central government, and the had cited a ‘senior government official’ for the quote. The report also claimed that such workers will also be asked to pay interest on the money.
However, the union govt has now clarified that this was a fake news by Business Standard, and at present there is no proposal to asked the retrenched workers to pay back the reskilling allowance if they don’t undergo the training. The rules for the reskilling fund are being framed, and Business Standard carried a speculative report based on anonymous sources.
In the Industrial Relations Code 2020, which was passed by the Parliament in the monsoon session last month, there is a provision for creating a worker reskilling fund. According to Section 83 of the code which was notified on September 29, the govt will set up a fund called the worker re-skilling fund. When a worker is retrenched, the employer has to contribute an amount equal to the fifteen days of wage last drawn by the worker to this fund. This amount will be credited to the account of the retrenched worker within 45 days of the retrenchment.
The workers will utilise this allowance to upgrade their skills after their retrenchment, and they will receive it every time they are retrenched.
The Gazette notification notifying the Industrial Relations Code 2020 does not mention anything about workers having to return this amount after their retrenchment, nor any official communication on the matter. This shows that Business Standard ran a story based on an anonymous source which is not correct.