orkers suffer at the hands of their employers if not always then often. To counter the problem of this section of the society, Arvind Kejriwal’s government in Delhi passed a bill to amend the Minimum Wages Act (1948) which has got the approval of the President Ram Nath Kovind.
DELHI CM ARVIND KEJRIWAL TOOK TO TWITTER TO SHARE THE MOMENT:
Finally, Central Govt gives its approval after several months. This will act as a strong deterrent against those employers who do not pay full min wages. Del govt will take strong action against such people. https://twitter.com/aamaadmiparty/status/993818226403545088 …
THE PREVIOUS PROVISION UNDER THE MINIMUM WAGES ACT
Before the amendment, under section 22A, the violator of the act was slapped with a fine of merely Rs 500. Such a non-existent fine for the employer only promoted him/her to cheat the worker with not paying the mandatory sum.
Now the fine has been updated to Rs 20,000 along with a jail term of one year.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AMENDMENTS TO THE MINIMUM WAGES ACT (DELHI) AMENDMENTS BILL, 2017
1. In Section 22A of Act 11 of 1948: the words- shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both, will be substituted with- shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of three years, or with fine of fifty thousand rupees, or with both.
2. In Section 22A of Act 11 of 1948: the words- with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees will be substituted with- with imprisonment for a term of one year, or with fine twenty thousand rupees or with both.
3. The amendment also demands that the employers pay their workers by depositing the money in their bank accounts, electronically or with a cheque. This will help to track the records of the payment as opposed to the cash payment, where there is no concrete way of keeping a record.
CURRENT MINIMUM WAGE RATE
As per the Labour Department under the Delhi government, the minimum wages of an unskilled worker are INR 13,896 per month whereas the semi-skilled worker gets INR 15,296 per month. A skilled worker is entitled to INR 16,858 per month while a graduate has a right to get INR 18,332 as minimum rates of wages.
Since there is a high possibility that unskilled workers are illiterate, they do not know their right to the minimum wages. Sometimes, they do not even know what the rates are and that makes their employer cheat them.
THE TAKE OF THE SPECIALIST ON THE MATTER
Labour Law Act specialist advocate from Noida, Ramesh Chandra Mathur confirmed that the minimum wage rate does apply on the employee who works in any kind of private firm at any given position and not just industrial or factory labourers.
An employer should give the minimum wage prescribed in the Minimum Wages Act. Clearly, there are strict rules for the employers who violate this law by defying the minimum wage to their employees.
On asking about what an employee should do if he is not getting the prescribed minimum wage, Mr Mathur said that he can complain in Labour Office about the same and a case will be launched to look into the matter.
But it should be noted that the provision only applies to the ‘registered employees’ and not retainers (with whom the company makes an agreement with). Although there are also companies which go the other way to save themselves from paying the minimum wages. On the information obtained from a source, these companies keep the employees without giving them the status of an employee, meaning they do not have a PF and they are not registered. They are like some people who come to the office, do their work and the company pays them at the end of the month. In case of an enquiry, the company will even dare to say that the person does not work here.