Karnataka has exempted all industrial establishments in special economic zones (SEZ) from labour laws for five years, provided they constitute committees to deal with complaints of sexual harassment and other grievances. The state labour department notification this week excluded SEZ units from the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act provisions.

The act regulates terms of employment like termination, misconduct, wages and holidays. According to the ministry of commerce and industry, Karnataka has 32 operational SEZs covering information technology (IT), pharmaceuticals, textiles, aerospace and product engineering sectors.

The exemption for SEZs is subject to four conditions: Industrial establishments must constitute internal complaints committee as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act; constitute grievance redressal committee; furnish information about cases of disciplinary action like suspension, dismissal etc, to the authorities; furnish details on service conditions of employees as sought by the authorities, according to a report in a regional newspaper.

Earlier this year, the state government exempted the IT and IT-enabled services sector from the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act for another five years. The last exemption was granted in January 2014.

The department has also specified the minimum wages employers should pay workers in coffee curing and forestry & timbering industries.