Code on Wages Bill gets cabinet nod in a bid to revive labour law reform

In its first step towards reviving the labour law reform process, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft legislation, which seeks to mandate minimum wages fixed by the central government.

 

The Union Cabinet approved the Code on Wages Bill, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a press conference after the meeting on Wednesday.

 

The Code on Wages Bill was tabled in Lok Sabha during the previous tenure of the government in August 2017, and it was referred to the standing committee that had given its comments to the labour ministry, but the Bill lapsed after the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.

 

The Bill had proposed empowering the states to fix different minimum wages based on geography, skill and occupation, along with a national-level minimum wage which will act as a floor.

At present, the Centre fixes a National Floor-Level Minimum Wage – a non-statutory measure to ensure that states fix their minimum wages beyond this floor level.

 

The Code on Wages Bill will combine four labour laws — Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

Matter of money

• Government plans to combine 35-odd labour laws in four codes

• The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the first code on wages

• The proposed law seeks to make minimum wages fixed by central government mandatory to be implemented by states for all occupations

• The code on occupational safety health and working conditions to be pushed next

• The code on industrial relations and social security will be taken up later


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