The Lok Sabha passed The Code on Wages Bill, 2019. While opening the discussion for consideration and passing of the Bill, Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that it is a historic Bill which aims to transform the old and obsolete labour laws into more accountable and transparent ones which is need of the hour. As many as 17 present labour laws are more than 50 years old and some of them even belong to pre-independence era.
Among the four Acts being subsumed in The Code on Wages Bill, The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 belongs to pre-independence era and The Minimum Wages Act 1948 is also 71 years old. The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 are also being subsumed in the Code.
He further said that wide consultations were held with trade unions, employers and State governments and tripartite consultations were held on 10th March, 2015 and 13th April, 2015. A draft of Wage Code was made available in public domain through Ministry’s website. Many persons gave their valuable suggestions.
The Bill was introduced in last Lok Sabha on 10 August, 2017 and was referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee which submitted its Report on 18th December 2018. Out of 24 recommendations made by standing committee, 17 were accepted by government.
He further said that the Code ensures minimum wages along with timely payment of wages to all the employees and workers. Many unorganized sector workers like agricultural workers, painters, persons working in restaurants and dhabas, chowkidars etc. who were out of the ambit of minimum wages will get legislative protection of minimum wages after the bill becomes an Act.
It has been ensured in the bill that employees getting monthly salary shall get the salary by 7th of next month, those working on weekly basis shall get the salary on last day of the week and daily wagers should get it on the same day.
He expressed hope that The Code on Wages will prove to be a milestone and give respectable life to 50 crore unorganized sector workers. The Minister responded to the debate in detail and thanked all the respected members for cooperation in passing the Bill.