However, the government’s latest move towards a uniform date for the implementation of labour laws will mean that the implementation of the Code on Wages Act, 2019, could face delay by at least one year from when it became a law.
Though the code has become an Act in August, the government is yet to issue a separate order notifying the date of its implementation.
The code’s main feature was to ensure minimum wages
to workers across sectors. The previous minimum wages
law was only applicable to a few industries and establishments. A later date of implementation of the Code on Wages Act will also imply that the industry may get some relief from a rise in its wage bills due to any possible hike in the minimum wages.
The official explained that the consolidation of 36 labour laws into four codes will result in the harmonisation of various key definitions related to wages, employees, employers, and workplace, among others. "If basic concepts such as what will constitute wages vary across labour laws, it may lead to confusion and arbitration," the official said.
However, some industry representatives criticised the move and said it would “postpone the labour law
reforms”. “All good moves do not have to happen together. I don’t agree with the government’s myopic view. The code on wages Act clearly defines wages, overtime and other such concepts so why should it wait for other Bills to become a law?” Pradeep Bhargava, president of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce said.
Bhargava added that the intent of the government to push for labour law
reforms would be nullified as some labour Bills may even take more than a year to become an Act. It took exactly two years for the code on wages Bill, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2017 and subsequently referred to a standing committee, to become a law. The standing committee had submitted its report in December 2018.