The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955

FOCUS

This Act aims to regulate certain conditions of service of ‘working journalists’ and other persons employed in newspaper establishments.

A ‘newspaper’ is defined as any ‘printed periodical work’ containing public news, or comments on public news. Newspapers also include other classes of printed periodicals as may be notified by the central government. A ‘newspaper establishment’ is an establishment under the control of a person or body or persons – whether incorporated or not – for the production or publication of one or more newspapers, or for conducting any news agency or syndicate. A ‘newspaper employee’ includes working journalists and any other person employed to do any work in, or in relation to, a newspaper establishment.

This Act, which Parliament passed on December 20, 1955, extends to the whole of India.

    FACTOIDS

  1. How does the Act differentiate between the kinds of newspaper employees?

    The Act differentiates ‘working journalists’, ‘non-journalist newspaper employees’ and newspaper employees in managerial or administrative roles.


    A ’working journalist’ is a person whose principal vocation is journalism, and who is employed in one or more newspaper establishments – on a full-time or part-time basis – as an editor, a leader writer, news editor, sub-editor, feature writer, copy-tester, reporter, correspondent, cartoonist, news photographer or proof-reader. It does not include persons employed for managerial or administrative roles.


    A ‘non-journalist newspaper employee’ is a person employed to do any work in, or in relation to, a newspaper establishment; such employees do not include working journalists, or those employed in managerial or administrative roles.

  2. What does the Act say about the working conditions of working journalists and the wages of newspaper employees?

    No working journalist shall be required or allowed to work in any newspaper establishment for more than 144 hours during any period of four consecutive weeks, “exclusive of the time for meals.” They shall be allowed to have at least 24 hours of rest during any period of seven consecutive days. Apart from holidays, casual leave and any other kind of prescribed leave, working journalists are entitled to earned leave with full wages for not less than an 11th “of the period spent on duty.” Working journalists are also entitled to medical leave on half of their rate of wages for not less than an “one-eighteenth of their period of service."


    The central government may fix and revise rates of wages for working journalists and newspaper employees.

  3. What does the Act stipulate about paying gratuity to working journalists?

    The newspaper establishment shall pay gratuity to every working journalist who has been in continuous service at the newspaper establishment for at least three years, if the journalist retires or their services are terminated by the establishment. Newspaper establishments shall pay gratuity to the nominee of any working journalist who has died during service. The gratuity amount shall be “…equivalent to fifteen days’ average pay for every completed year of service or any part thereof in excess of six months.”

  4. What other Acts can be applied to newspaper employees?

    As per the Working Journalists Act, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, shall apply to every newspaper establishment where 20 or more persons are employed or were employed on any day of the preceding 12 months, as if the establishment were an industrial establishment.


    The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, shall apply to every newspaper establishment in which 20 or more persons are employed on any day, as if the establishment were a factory.

  5. What does the Act specify about the retrenchment of newspaper employees?

    No employer at a newspaper establishment shall dismiss, discharge or retrench any newspaper employee, due to their “liability for payment of wages to newspaper employees” at the rates of wages specified by the central government.

  6. What does the Act say about recovering money due from an employer?

    Under this Act, if an amount payable by an employer at a newspaper establishment is due to a newspaper employee, the employee, any person authorised by them, or – in the case of the death of the employee – any member of their family, may make an application to the state government to recover the amount. If the state government – or any authority appointed by it – is satisfied that an amount is  due, the government shall proceed to recover the amount in the same manner as it collects arrears of land revenue.


    Focus and Factoids by Jinson George Chacko.

AUTHOR

Ministry of Law and Justice

COPYRIGHT

Government of India, New Delhi

PUBLICATION DATE

20 Dec, 1955

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