Labour Minister @AAPKaGopalRai introduces progressive labour wage reform in Delhi #500DaysOfAAP

Labour Minister of Delhi, Mr Gopal Rai introduced the following two bills in the Delhi Assembly on Thursday :

1)      The Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015

2)      Minimum Wages (Delhi Amendment) Bill 2015

(Please find attached the copies of both the bills in English and Hindi along with this press release)

SALIENT FEATURES OF THE WORKING JOURNALISTS AND OTHER NEWSPAPER EMPLOYEES (CONDITIONS OF SERVICE) AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS (DELHI AMENDMENT) BILL, 2015 :

·         Delhi is the first state government in the country to introduce changes in law to ensure effective implementation of the Wage Board.

·         No media organization has so far implemented the Majithita Wage Board

The working journalists and other newspaper employees raised several issues regarding payment of salaries and also lack of proper provisions to enforce reasonable wages/salary to working journalists and other newspaper employees. The Central Government constituted several boards to address the issues raised by the working journalists and other newspaper employees and last board in the line was Majithia Wage Board which was constituted under the chairmanship of Justice G.R. Majithia. The Wage Board has given various recommendations in respect of wages/allowances payable to the newspaper employees.

During the implementation of the Majithia wage board recommendation two major short comings detected in the present Act. These are:

·  There is no provision for adequate compensation to the employees who have preferred their claims under sec 17 of the act.

·  There is very meagre penal provisions in the Act as provided in section 18 (1) and Section 18 (1A) of the Act which could not mount effective deterrence for the violators of the Act.

The proposed amendment in the Act basically deal with these two issues and proposed to provide compensation upto five times of the amount of wages due to the employee in case a claim is filed under section 17 (1) of the Act.

Further, it provide more stringent penal provision under section 18 (1) and 18(1A) which include punishment of imprisonment as well as provisions of enhanced fine which will provide a effective deterrence for the violators of the Act.By providing these provisions the government will intend to provide relief to the working journalists and other newspaper employees by ensuring payment of their legitimate wages including adequate compensation.

Majithia Wage Board Report

Chairman National Wage Boards for Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees, Justice GR Majithia and members of the Wage Boards had presented their final Report to PC Chaturvedi, the then Secretary Ministry of Labour & Employment in New Delhi.

The Report has classified newspaper establishments into eight categories and news agencies into four categories based on gross revenues. Recommended pay scales have been classified into six categories for jobs in each class of establishment. Pay scales have been worked out by adding old basic pay and DA admissible up to June 2010 plus 30 per cent of interim relief. The revised pay would have a component of ‘variable’ pay at the rate of 35 per cent for employees working in first top four classes of establishments and 20 per cent for other four classes of establishments. The ‘variable’ pay will be added in the revised basic pay for calculation of all allowances. Effective date of implementation would be from July 1, 2010.

The monthly emoluments for the lowest category of employee in the lowest class of establishment would work out to be Rs 9,000 for the basic pay at floor level minimum wage of Rs 5,000. The revised basic pay would, however, range from Rs 9,000 to Rs 17,500 for non-journalists and from Rs 13,000 to Rs 25,000 for working journalists in the top establishment having gross revenues of more than Rs 1,000 crore.

As far as social security measures are concerned, possibility of granting paternity leave to male employees, retirement age of 65 years, and exploring pension scheme possibilities have been suggested going beyond the mandated wage structure revision.

The wage board has further recommended night shift allowance, hard ship allowance; transport allowance and House Rent allowance for different class of establishments. It has recommended that a permanent mechanism in the form of a tribunal be set up to adjudicate on complaints regarding non-implementation or circumvention of the award. Also, employers are to ensure that while engaging contractual workers, they must at least offer same salary for the same work, which is performed by the regular employee.

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES BY THE MINIMUM WAGES (AMENDMENT) BILL 2015

·  We are changing the cash provision in Section 11 to electronic deposit or account payee cheque. This will ensure no corruption or extortion on payment and introduce people into the banking system. However, saving grace and saving clauses have been allotted because this change will take place in a phased manner and we don’t want to cause impulsive shocks to the payment schedules currently being followed.

·  Section 14 amendment to ensure that employees and labourers are paid the overtime rate. 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 increase benefits to daily wage labourers.

·  Section 22 and Section 22A: Amended from 500 rupee penalty to imprisonment of 3 years or 1 year respectively along with Rs. 20,000 rupee fine. This is ensures that there’s a sufficient cost to not following the minimum wage law.

·  Section 22B: Swift and certain justice to be ensured by disposing the prosecution complaint within 3 months.

·  Section 31A: Employee data to go onto website and be digitized.

Several states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan have effected state amendments in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, to enhance the efficacy of the Act. Primarily, the focus has been on enhancing the penalty as well as making compliance easier for the employers by introducing electronic maintenance of records. To ensure that the benefit of minimum wages actually is received by the workers, these state amendments have substituted cash payments with a direct transfer of the wages into the bank account of the workers. The proposed Labour Codes on Wages Bill of the Government of India has also included such similar provisions. The Government of National Capital Territory, having ensured one of the highest levels of minimum rates wages of workers is intended to adopt such legislative trends, which are in favour of a more efficacious implementation of the minimum wages law. In order to realistically examine and fix minimum rates of wages for different class/category of workers all necessary components of ‘wage determination’ which shall include not only basic calorie needs of a workman but also holistically shall include food, shelter, clothing, education for children, medical needs and other social commitments which are generally necessarily followed and adopted by all depending upon their financial earning capacity.

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