November 27, 2015 3:07:09 am
Delhi Transport and Labour Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday introduced the Minimum Wages (Delhi) Amendment Bill in the legislative assembly. “No labourer could afford to live with respect in the present scenario in Delhi,” said Rai, adding that the Bill aims to secure the interests of contractors as well as workers.
As per the Bill, the government, while fixing or revising minimum wages for workers, will not only take into account the “skill required, the arduousness of the work and cost of living” but also “other components that the government thinks appropriate”. The Bill also outlines stricter punishment for those found violating the norms as well as some new rules for the welfare of workers.
By insertion of Section 3(A), contractors will no longer be able to lay off workers during the pendency of a proceeding or a case by the worker. “Often, it is seen that the contractor dismisses the worker when the latter lodges a case to ask for his rights. Now, the contractor cannot take the worker off the job till the proceedings are finished and a conclusion is reached,” said Rai.
Employers found paying workers less than the minimum wages prescribed for that class of work may face imprisonment of three years or fine of Rs 50,000 or both, instead of the earlier punishment of imprisonment of six months or fine of Rs 500.
The penalty for violating any other provision has also been made stringent, with contractors facing up to one year in jail or a fine of Rs 20,000 or both, instead of the Rs 500 fine they had to pay earlier for violations.
Contract labourers will also be liable to be paid “twice the amount of their wages” as overtime.
“The minimum rate of overtime has not been defined till now. We have defined it as at least twice the minimum wage or any special law that may occur in that sector. So, we are fulfilling another promise of increasing benefits to daily wage labourers,’’ added Rai.
The Bill also proposes to make it mandatory for courts to dispose of complaints under sections 22(a) and 22(b) within a period of three months from the date of making the complaint.
‘’We are changing the cash provision in Section 11 to electronic deposits or account payee cheque system. This will ensure no corruption or extortion… and introduce people to the banking system. However, saving clauses have been allotted because this change will take place in a phased manner…” said Rai.
Under the proposed amendments, companies will have to upload data about their employees on a website or web portal, in the manner prescribed by the Delhi government.
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