Millennium Post

'Universal minimum wage for all workers to be reality soon'

Universal minimum wage for all industries and workers, including those getting monthly pay higher than Rs 18,000, would soon be a reality, according to senior officials. The proposed Code on Wages providing for these "pro- worker provisions" is likely to be placed before the Cabinet this month for approval so that it could be pushed for passage in the forthcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament, they said.

"The ministerial panel on labour issues headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already approved the Code on Wages. It has already been sent to the law ministry for vetting after which it would be placed before the Cabinet for approval," a source said. The labour ministry is keen to push the bill for passage in the next session of the Parliament expected to begin next month, he said.

The Wage Code Bill seeks to empower the Centre to set a minimum wage across all sectors in the country and states will have to maintain that. However, states will be able to provide for higher minimum wage in their jurisdiction than fixed by the Central Government. Besides, the minimum wage would be applicable on all classes of workers.

At present, it is applicable for scheduled industries or establishments in the law. Similarly, the universal minimum wage would be applicable for all workers irrespective of their pay. At present, the minimum wage rates fixed by the Centre and states are applicable to workers getting up to Rs 18,000 monthly pay.

The proposed Code on Wages will subsume the Minimum Wages Act of 1948, the Payment of Wages Act of 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act of 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976.
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