Minimum Wages Act, 1948
The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 deals with the fixing of minimum rates of wages in certain employments.
- It extends to the whole of India and came into force on 15th March 1948.
1) Wages do not include the following:
- House-accommodation, the supply of light, water, medical attendance.
- The contribution made by the employer to the pension or provident fund or any other scheme.
- Travelling allowance or travelling concession.
- Amount paid to the employed person to cover special expenses.
- Gratuity payable.
2) The minimum rates of wages for time work and piece work are referred to as a minimum time rate and minimum piece rate respectively.
- Guaranteed time rate refers to the minimum rate of remuneration applicable to the employees who are employed on piece work and is intended to secure such employees a minimum rate of wages on a time work basis.
- Overtime rate refers to the minimum rate whether a time rate or a piece rate to apply in respect of overtime work done by employees.
3) The following wage periods are considered for fixing the minimum rates of wages:
- By the hour.
- By the day.
- By the month.
- By any other prescribed wage-period.
4) For fixing minimum rates of wages, the appropriate government shall either appoint as many committees and subcommittees or by notification in the Official Gazette, publish its proposals for the information of persons likely to be affected.
- The appropriate government shall appoint an advisory board to coordinate the work of committees and subcommittees and advise in the matters related to the minimum rates of wages.
5) To coordinate the work of advisory boards and to advise the central and state governments regarding the fixation and revision of minimum rates of wages, the central government shall appoint a central advisory board.
- The board shall consist of an equal number of persons representing employers and employees nominated by the central government and
- Independent members not exceeding one-third of its total number of members.
- One independent person shall be appointed as the chairman of the board.
6) If an employee is employed on piece work for which only the minimum time rate has been fixed, the employer shall pay wages at not less than the minimum time rate.
7) The appropriate government shall appoint inspectors and the duties of the inspectors are as follows:
- He shall enter any premises or place where employees are employed with his assistants to examine any register, record of wages or notices required to be kept or exhibited by or under this Act.
- He shall examine various details (names and addresses, payments made for the work, etc) that are related to the out workers.
- If he has a reasonable cause to believe any person on the premises of an establishment as a worker, he may examine that person.
- If he has a reason to believe that the registers, record of wages or notices, relevant in respect of an offence under this act, he may seize or take copies of such things.
8) The appropriate government may appoint the following as an authority to hear and decide the claims related to the various aspects of the minimum rates of wages:
- Any commissioner for workmen's compensation.
- Any officer of the central or state government not below the rank of a labour commissioner.
- Any other officer with experience as a judge of a civil court or as a stipendiary magistrate.
9) If the claim is related to the payment of less than the minimum rates of wages, the authority may direct for the payment of due together with the payment of compensation not exceeding ten times the amount of such due.
- In any other case, the authority may direct for the payment of the due amount together with the payment of such compensation not exceeding ten rupees.
- If the authority is satisfied that the application is either malicious or vexatious, it may direct the person who presented the application to pay a penalty not exceeding fifty rupees to the employer.
10) Any employer who pays less than the minimum rates of wages or less than the amount due to him, or contravenes any rule made under section 13 (Fixing working day hours) shall be punishable with a maximum imprisonment of six months or with a maximum fine of five hundred rupees or with both.
- Any employer who contravenes any provision of this act and if a specific penalty is not mentioned for that contravention under this act, then he shall be punishable with a maximum fine of five hundred rupees.
11) The contract or agreement, which relinquishes or reduces the right to a minimum rate of wages of an employee shall be null and void.
12) Part 1 of the schedule deals with employment in various establishments like manufacturing industries, mills, mines, etc.
- Part 2 of the schedule deals with employment in various agriculture-related industries like farming, livestock, bees, poultry, etc.
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