CENTRAL GOVERNMENT NOTIFIES DRAFT RULES FOR A NEW LABOUR CODE WITH REGARD TO MINIMUM WAGES AND WORKING HOURS

On 9 July, the Labour and Employment Ministry notified the draft Code on Wages (Central) Rules, 2020 which paves way for an 8 hour working day and one or more intervals of rest not exceeding 1 hour for labourers working in various factories and establishments. This move by the Central Government has been considered in conflict to decisions of State Governments which have increased the working hours to 10-12 hours. 

These rules shall be applicable to a standard working class family which includes a spouse, two children apart from the earning worker. The Code shall fix a national floor for minimum wages based on the minimum standards of living inter alia medical requirement, recreation, expenditure and children’s education should constitute to 25 per cent of the minimum wages. Henceforth, it has classified expenditure limits across different heads on which the minimum wages will be calculated. The Code has also revised the rules for time intervals with regard to dearness allowance to a worker.  

While calculating the minimum wages of a worker, tt is important to consider a consumption intake of 2700 calories and usage of 66 meters of clothing for a standard family. The Central Government has also proposed that employers have to make a prior intimation to an inspector within 10 days in case of deduction in wages of labour for empowerment of workers.

The Code, further, recommends division of the county into 3 geographical categories namely metropolitan area, non-metropolitan area and the rural area for fixing of wages. There shall be a constitution of a technical committee consisting of Chief Labour Commissioner as a Chairperson along with 6 other members, for advising the Central Government on skill categorization. The Code specifies a procedure for the Central Advisory Board which shall consist of persons to be nominated by the Central Government representing employers, employees, independent persons and representatives of the State Government. The rules have been presented in the form of gazette notification and the government has invited suggestions from all people which are likely to be affected within a period of 45 days.

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