Parliament passes Code on Wages bill to ensure minimum wage

Aug 2, 2019
New Delhi:  The Rajya Sabha on Friday passed the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 which subsumes some British-era labour laws into one code and enables the Centre to fix minimum wages that would benefit almost 500 million workers.

The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill with almost all the parties supporting it.

Terming the move as historic and saying that it will ensure minimum and timely payment of wages to workers engaged in agriculture, security guards, women working as domestic help among others, Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that the proposed law will bring all of them in the ambit of minimum wages.

Replying to the debate on the bill, he said that the bill is a major decision in the interest of the workers.

Gangwar said that the proposed law will provide for daily-wagers get their payment the same day, those working on monthly basis get their wages within seven days of the next month, and those working on weekly basis get paid by the end of the week.

He mentioned that some of the states have fixed very low wage for scheduled employment. The wage is as low as Rs 55.

“I don’t think it proper to name those states. To do away with this anomaly, a floor wage would be determined under this Code and this would be done through a tripartite mechanism which would include trade unions, employers and the advice of states,” he said.

Gangwar added that states would not be able to fix wages lower than the floor wage. But as per the requirement, states would continue to fix the minimumA wage and they would have complete freedom to do so.

He noted that the bill had been vetted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and most of its recommendations had been incorporated in the code.

Speaking on the bill, senior Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry said that it is very unfortunate that they had missed this opportunity to improve the lives of millions and millions of people of the country who are living in sub-human conditions.

“I hope that, some day, their economic conditions will improve. This legislation doesn’t provide that opportunity,” he said.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Sanjay Singh took on the government saying the bill lets off those violating labour laws.

The Labour Minister, while introducing the bill, said that there was provision of penalties for employers which range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 100,000.

The Labour Ministry has decided to merge 44 labour laws into four codes on wages, industrial relations, social security, safety, health and working conditions. IANS