Can CS Management Trainee claim benefits of Labour Laws- Know By CS Shubham Budhiraja


Introduction

Trainee and apprentice is not the same thing. There may be a situation where a person styled as apprentice but performing work of a normal employee and such a case he is not apprentice but trainee. Trainee is per se not an apprentice. Trainee is not excluded from the definition of an employee rather what excluded is apprentice.  Therefore the principal question is the claim of a CS management trainee who is appointed as apprentice as per contract in a firm. Can he claim the benefits of Labour laws?

Whether apprentice includes trainee?

In the Concise Oxford Dictionary the word "apprentice" means, "a person learning a trade from a skilled employer". In Black's Law Dictionary the word "apprentice" means, "a person bound by an indenture to work for an employer for a specific period to learn a craft, trade or profession and a learner in any field of employment or business." As per P. Ramanatha Aiyar's Law of Lexicons the word "apprentice" means, "a learner is one who is taken to learn a trade, a person under a contract of apprenticeship, to a master to learn from him his trade or business and to serve him during his time of the apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship

Correspondingly, as per Concise Oxford Dictionary the word "trainee" means, "a person undergoing training for a particular job or profession". As per P. Ramanatha Aiyars Law of Lexicons, the word "training" means "systematic instruction". From the above expression from various dictionaries, it is seen that both the words "apprentice" and "trainee" are not either similar, identical or same as both the words have been distinctly defined with reference to the nature of job. As referred to in Black's Law Dictionary, "apprentice" means, "a person must be either a learner in any field of employment or business or a person was bound by indenture to work for an employer for specific period to learn a craft, trade or profession".

In Chairmancum- Managing Director, Orissa Mining Corpn. Ltd

 “... A trainee employed under a contract of employment is not an apprentice, under the Apprentices Act, unless he is undergoing apprenticeship training in a designated trade in pursuance of a contract of apprenticeship...”

Illustration

It absence of a definition of term trainee, the meaning of term trainee would depend upon context, object of the act and definition of trainee in any other act. Apprentice means “person learning trade from a skilled employer” Trainee means “person undergoing training for a particular job or profession” The nature of duties performed by apprentice and trainee are not similar or identical.  Mere nomenclature of Job is irrelevant and what has to see is the nature of duties to be performed.

Where Mr. X appointed as CS trainee but enter into apprentice agreement with the Firm. However the nature of duty assigned to him are as follows:

  1. He is working for same hours as like of the normal employee
  2. He is getting reimbursed for his expenses like a normal employee
  3. He is having same holidays like a normal employee
  4. He is subject to same rules, notices, responsibilities, consequences as that of a normal employee. Example, getting a stipend deduction on a leave.

In such a case it cannot be said that Mr. X is any manner appointed to learn a trade alone rather he is performing alike duties of a normal employee. Thus, he is more than mere apprentice and less than normal employee. I.e. trainee.

Conclusion

The labor laws are welfare legislation and therefore the rules of Interpretation require it to adopt the Interpretation which furthers the objectives of it and not bar it.  Trainees give various duties during the course of the so called training and who is not deputed in a particular designated trade cannot be called as an apprentice or learner. The nomenclature of the post is not of much consequence while interpreting the beneficial provisions of the welfare statute. However, designating an employee as trainee, extracting regular work from him and then denying him the benefit of Labour laws under the pretext of such employee being a trainee would certainly defeat the object of the welfare statute.

This article is meant only for academic purpose and should not be construed as a professional or legal advice. The author reserve all rights against creation of this work and any breach to the author’s right might invite appropriate actions in accordance to law in force in India.

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