Delhi Govt. Amends Minimum Wages Act; Says Strict Punishment will be Given to Violators
On 8 May, 2018 The President gave his consent to amendments to the Minimum Wages Act, proposed by the Delhi Government. The amendments to increase punishment for non-payment and other offences was first tabled as a bill by the Delhi Government on 3 December 2015.
The Centre then suggested some changes to the bill, including the definition of Delhi Government, after which AAP government again passed The Minimum Wages (Delhi) Amendments Act, 2017, in August last year.
Before Amendment the Act empowered the employees by setting working hours per week at 48 and 9 per day with one hour of rest. Also, if a worker works more than 9 hours per day, he/she is entitled to twice the pay for those extra hours.
The Act gave powers to State Government for setting up minimum wages except in cases where Central Government was giving the contract for work.
The violation of the Act resulted previously in a fine of Rs. 500 or a jail term of 6 months or both.
But after amendment the Act has increased the punishment for failure to pay minimum wages has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 50,000 and a jail term of 6 months to 3 years.
For other offences, the fine was increased from Rs 500 to Rs 20,000 and 1-year imprisonment.
The Amendment has also specifically mentioned, “not less than two times of the normal rate of wages fixed under this Act or any law of the appropriate government for the time being in force, whichever is higher”.
Further, the AAP Government last year had hiked by 37% the minimum wages for unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and graduated and above category workers to Rs 13,584, Rs 14,958, Rs 16,468 and Rs 17,916 respectively from Rs 9,724, Rs 10,764, Rs 11,830 and Rs 12,870 respectively.
On July 1, 2017, the labour ministry announced the hike in the National Floor Level Minimum Wage from Rs 160 to Rs 176 a day.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the amended law will act as a “strong deterrent” against the employers who do not pay full minimum wages.