The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946


The Industrial Employment Act, 1946, requires employers in industrial establishments to formally define the conditions of employment in their establishment “with sufficient precision,” and to make these conditions known to the workers they employ.

‘Employer’ refers to the owner of an industrial establishment, including a factory, or a manager of the factory; industrial establishments under the control of any department of any government within India; and any other industrial establishment or any person supervising the establishment.

This Act, which Parliament passed on April 23, 1946, applies to the whole of India.


  1. What are ‘standing orders’?

    ‘Standing orders’ are rules regulating matters set forth in the Act’s Schedule. The Schedule mentions the classification of workers as permanent, temporary, apprentices, or other categories of workers; the manner in which the employers shall inform workers about the duration of work, holidays, pay-days and wage rates; attendance and being late to report to work; the procedure for applying for leave and holidays; the requirement to enter the premises by certain gates; closing and re-opening sections of the industrial establishment and temporary stoppage of work; termination of employment and notices to be given by employers and workers for the same; suspension or dismissal for misconduct; means of redress for workers against unfair treatment by employers or agents; shifts-based work; and any other matter that may be prescribed by the ‘appropriate Government’ (centre or state).

    The employer shall prominently post the text of standing orders – as certified under this Act – in English and the language understood by the majority of workers, on boards at or near the entrance that a majority of workers use to enter the industrial establishment. Standing orders certified under this Act shall not be modified until six months after the date on which the last modification of the orders came into operation, unless agreed upon by the employer and workers.

  2. Which industries does this Act apply to?

    The Act applies to all industries where 100 or more workers are, or have been, employed on any day in the preceding 12 months. The ‘appropriate Government’ may also apply the provisions of this Act to any industrial establishment employing less than 100 workers. The government shall do so through a notification in The Gazette of India, and they shall give the industry a notice of at least two months. The Act’s provisions do not apply to certain classes of industries in states including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, as per the laws of the states.

    The ‘appropriate Government’ may exempt – conditionally or unconditionally – any industrial establishment or class of industrial establishments from all or any of the provisions of this Act. The government shall do so through a notification in the Gazette.

  3. How are standing orders certified under this Act?

    An employer shall submit five copies of draft standing orders to the Certifying Officer within six months from the date on which this Act becomes applicable to the industrial establishment. (A Certifying Officer refers to a Labour Commissioner, Regional Labour Commissioner or any other officer appointed by the ‘appropriate Government’ to implement the provisions of this Act.) Such a draft shall have provisions for each matter mentioned in the Schedule. The draft standing orders shall be accompanied by a statement containing the details about workers employed in the industrial establishment, including the name of the trade union which they belong to, if any. A group of employers in similar industrial establishments may submit a joint draft of standing orders under this section.

  4. What does the Act say about appealing against standing orders?

    Any employer, worker or trade union aggrieved by a standing order approved by a Certifying Officer, can appeal to an ‘appellate authority’, which may decide to modify the order.

  5. What are the penalties for contravening the Act’s provisions?

    Any employer who fails to submit draft standing orders, or modifies such an order in contravention of this Act, shall be punishable with a fine of up to Rs. 500. The employer shall be liable to pay an additional fine of Rs. 200 for every day that the offence continues after the first day of the offence.

    If any employer acts in contravention of the standing orders certified under this Act, the industrial establishment shall be punishable with a fine which may extend to Rs. 100. The establishment shall also be liable to pay an additional fine of Rs. 25 for every day that the offence continues after the first day of the offence.

    Focus and Factoids by Jinson George Chacko.


Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India


Government of India, New Delhi


23 Apr, 1946