Approaches to employee welfare

Approaches to employee welfare refer to the beliefs and attitudes held by agencies which provide welfare facilities. Some agencies provide welfare facilities inspired by religious faith, others as a philanthropic duty and the like.
The various approaches to labour welfare reflect the attitudes and beliefs of the agen­cies which are engaged in welfare activities. Welfare facilities may be provided on religious, philanthropic or some other grounds. Moreover, the different approaches to labour welfare reflect the evolution of the concept of welfare. In bygone days, the government of the land had to compel the owner of an industrial establishment to provide such basic amenities as canteens, rest rooms, drinking water, good working conditions, and so forth, for their employees. Such compulsion was necessary because the employer believed in exploiting labour and treating it in an unfair manner. But times have changed, and the concept of welfare, too, has undergone changes. Many progressive managements today provide welfare facilities, voluntarily and with enlight­ened willingness and enthusiasm. In fact, welfare facilities are not restricted to the workers alone. They have now been extended to the society in general. In other words, labour welfare has been extended to include social welfare. Tata Steel Works at Jamshedpur, for example, spends Rs 10 crore each year on social welfare. Brooke Bond have set up a free animal welfare clinic at Gevrai, Aurangabad, under the direct charge of a qualified veterinary doctor. Jindal Aluminium, Bangalore, maintains the famous Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences Centre and a public school for the benefit of the public. The Jindal Scholarship Trust has been set up, under which deserving students are given scholarships. The Hindustan Machine Tools has a big playground and a community hall, which are let out for competitions and functions.

A study of the approaches to labour welfare is desirable for the management, the workers and the general reader. For the general reader, a study of approaches is essential because his/her knowledge of the subject is incomplete without a knowledge of these approaches, and a knowledge of approaches enables the manager and the worker to have a better perspective on welfare work.

The approaches and their brief descriptions are:
— The policing theory of labour welfare.
— The religion theory of labour welfare.
— The philanthropic theory of labour welfare.
— The paternalistic theory of labour welfare.
— The placating theory of labour welfare.
— The public relations theory of labour welfare.
— The functional theory of labour welfare.
— The social theory of labour welfare.

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