Equal Remuneration Act 1976: Important points
1) Section 2(g) of the act defines remuneration. It includes basic wage or salary and additional emoluments.
2) Same work or work of a similar nature (Section 2(h)) refers to the work that requires some skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions by a man or a woman.
3) Section 4 states that it is the duty of the employer to pay equal remuneration to men and women workers for the same work or work of a similar nature. As per this section:
- No employer shall pay less remuneration or reduce the rate of remuneration of the workers of opposite gender performing the same work or work of similar nature.
- Before the commencement of this act, if the rates of remuneration for men and women workers for the same work or work of similar nature are different only on the grounds of gender, then the highest of such rates shall be the rate of remuneration.
4) Section 5 states that there shall be no discrimination while recruiting men and women workers.
5) The appropriate government shall constitute one or more Advisory Committees (Section 6) to increase employment opportunities for women.
- The total membership shall not be less than ten persons, to be nominated by the appropriate government of which one-half shall be women.
- The advisory committee shall take the nature of work, working hours, the suitability of women for employment, provision for part-time employment and other relevant factors into consideration while tendering its advice.
6) Officers not below the rank of a Labour Officer shall be appointed by the appropriate government to:
- Hear and decide the complaints regarding the contravention of any provision of this act.
- Decide the claims arising out of non-payment of wages at equal rates to men and women workers for the same work or work of a similar nature.
7) If any employer or worker is aggrieved by any order, he/ she may appeal to such authority specified by the appropriate government within thirty days from the date of the order.
8) Inspectors shall be appointed by the appropriate government to investigate whether the provisions of this act are being followed by the employers or not. Every inspector shall within the local limits of his jurisdiction:
- Shall enter any building, factory, premises or vessel with assistance.
- Shall examine documents relating to the muster-roll or other documents relating to the employment of workers.
- Shall take evidence of any person to ascertain whether the provisions of this act are being compiled or not.
- Shall examine the employer, his agent or any other person found in charge of the establishment.
- Shall make copies of any register or document related to the establishment under this act.
- Shall require any person to produce any register or document or any information.
9) After the commencement of this act, if an employer fails to follow the following shall be punishable with a maximum imprisonment of one month or with a maximum fine of ten thousand rupees or with both:
- Fails to maintain any register or other document in relation to workers.
- Fails to produce any register, muster-roll or other document relating to the workers.
- Refuses to give any evidence or any information.
- Prevents his agent, servant or any other person in charge of the establishment or any worker, from giving evidence.
10) After the commencement of this act, if any employer does the following shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but may extend to twenty thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than three months but may extend to one year or with both for the first offence and with imprisonment which may extend to two years for the second and subsequent offences:
- Pays at unequal rates to men and women workers, for the same work or work of a similar nature.
- Makes any discrimination between men and women workers in contravention of the provisions of this Act.
- Fails to follow any direction made by the appropriate government.
11) If any person is required to produce any register or any other document to an inspector omits or refuses to produce or to give any information, then he shall be punishable with a maximum fine of five hundred rupees.
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