As part of labour law reforms, the Government has undertaken the exercise of rationalisation of the 38 Labour Acts by framing 4 labour codes viz Code on Wages, Code on Industrial Relations, Code on Social Security and Code on occupational safety, health and working conditions.
On 10th August 2017, The Code on Wages Bill 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha by Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of State for Labour and Employment.
It subsumes 4 existing Laws,
- The Minimum Wages Act, 1948;
- The Payment of Wages Act, 1936;
- The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and
- The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
After the enactment of the Code on Wages, all these four Acts will get repealed. The Codification of the Labour Laws will remove the multiplicity of definitions and authorities leading to ease of compliance without compromising wage security and social security to the workers
Features of the Code on Wages Bill:
- Minimum wages to one and all and timely payment of wages to all employees: At present, the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act and the Payment of Wages Act do not cover substantial number of workers, as the applicability of both these Acts is restricted to the Scheduled Employments / Establishments. The new Code on Wages will ensure minimum wages to one and all and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector of employment without any wage ceiling.
- National Minimum Wage for different geographical areas:A concept of statutory National Minimum Wage for different geographical areas has been introduced. It will ensure that no State Government fixes the minimum wage below the National Minimum Wages for that particular area as notified by the Central Government.
- Payment of wages through cheque or digital/ electronic mode:This would not only promote digitization but also extend wage and social security to the worker. Provision of an Appellate Authority has been made between the Claim Authority and the Judicial Forum which will lead to speedy, cheaper and efficient redressal of grievances and settlement of claims.
- Provision of compounding of offences:Penalties for different types of violations under this Code have been rationalized with the amount of fines varying as per the gravity of violations and repeat of the offences for those which are not punishable by a penalty of imprisonment.
- No amount fixed as minimum wage:Recently, some news reports have been published regarding the fixation of minimum wage as Rs. 18000/- per month by the Central Government. It is clarified that the Central Government has not fixed or mentioned any amount as “national minimum wage” in the Code on Wages Bill 2017. The minimum wages will vary from place to place depending upon skill required, arduousness of the work assigned and geographical location.
- Consultative mechanism:Further, the Code on Wages Bill 2017, in the clause 9 (3), clearly states that the Central Government, before fixing the national minimum wage, may obtain the advice of the Central Advisory Board, having representatives from employers and employees. Therefore the Code provides for a consultative mechanism before determining the national minimum wage.
- Clarification on methodology for calculating minimum wages:Some reports have been appearing in the media regarding the revised methodology for calculation of minimum wages by enhancing the units from three to six. It was purely a demand raised by Trade Unions in the recent meeting of the Central Advisory Board on Minimum Wages. It is clarified that such proposal is not part of the Code on Wages Bill.
About Lok Sabha:
- House of the people
- Lower house of the parliament
- Leader – Mr.Narendra Modi
- Speaker – Ms.Sumitra Mahajan
- Deputy Speaker – Mr.M.Thambidurai