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    Centre notifies draft wage rules, recommends eight hour working day

    Synopsis

    The draft rules of the Centre has recommended eight hour working day against 10-12 hours in nearly 12 states including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab who have raised the work hours for labourers to address the issue of labour shortage and ensure social distancing at the work site.

    Agencies
    The draft rules have also proposed the country be divided into three geographic categories – metropolitan area with a population of 40 lakh or more, non-metropolitan area with a population of 10-40 lakh and rural areas – to set the minimum wage.
    The labour ministry has notified the draft wage rules under the Labour Code on Wages, paving way for an eight hour working day in factories and establishments, conflicting the recent move by at least a dozen state governments to enhance the work hours in factories to either 10 or 12 hours.

    While the draft rules have left it to the technical committee to determine minimum wages in the country, there is no clarity on the criteria for determining the national floor level statutory minimum wage for the country.

    “The normal working day under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 13 shall be comprised of eight hours of work and one or more intervals of rest which in total shall not exceed one hour,” labour ministry has said in the draft rules called the Code on Wages (Central) Rules, 2020.

    Nearly 12 states including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab among others have raised the work hours for labourers to address the issue of labour shortage and ensure social distancing at the work site through notifications under the Factories Act, which is being proposed to be subsumed under the code on occupational safety.

    “The fixing of work hours at 8 hours a day under the wage rules is in conflict with enhanced work hours announced by some states. Consequently, the actual minimum wage will be less than the one prescribed by the technical committee in these states,” labour economist KR Shyam Sundar said.

    The draft rules have also proposed the country be divided into three geographic categories – metropolitan area with a population of 40 lakh or more, non-metropolitan area with a population of 10-40 lakh and rural areas – to set the minimum wage.

    Besides, it has classified expenditure limits across different heads based on which the minimum wage will be calculated. For instance, 10% of minimum wage has to be spent on house rent while the expenditure on fuel, electricity and miscellaneous items will constitute 20% of the minimum wage and that on education, health and other contingencies would constitute 25% of the minimum wage.

    While calculating the wage, an intake of 2,700 calories per day and 66 metres of clothing per annum for a standard family will be taken into account.

    “It is absolutely disappointing that the Rules have failed to describe the exact criteria for determining the national floor level minimum wage, which is very critical for workers,” Sundar added.

    Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, a central trade union affiliated to the RSS, however, welcomed the draft rules saying it is a step towards universalisation. "It will help reduce the wage disparity across the country,"Vrijesh Upadhyaya, secretary general of BMS said.

    An internal panel of the labour ministry had said in its report last year that “the single value of the national minimum wage for India should be set at Rs 375 per day as of July 2018. In addition to the minimum monthly wage of Rs 9,750, the seven-member panel had also suggested that a housing allowance of Rs 1,430 should be provided for city-based workers.

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    7 Comments on this Story

    Ravitosh32 days ago
    We make laws like PF ESIC Gratuity to over labour/workers financially but again bring ways to nullify these by way of outsourcing where no benefits are given but staff works as daily wager with no benefits.
    Shoaib Mohd34 days ago
    12000 hazar mahina aur 8 hrs duty set hai universal...metro aur non metro ke liye bhi same rakhne ka...baki malik log ki jalegi
    Iyer Venkatakrishnan34 days ago
    The Labour Ministry is drafting to recommend the 8 hours duty in a day for factories and establishments. It is a futile attempt to regulate the duty hours. In many service industries the working hours are more than 10 hrs. The employers are really doing injustice to the working class and no extra monetary benefits for the work beyond 8 hrs. How the govt is going to check this unfair labour practices especially in the unorganised sector. The employer says "the coming time is fixed, while going from work is not fixed"This is the culture prevailing in all the work places. While this is the scenario, in the rural sector the farming community is experiencing difficulties in getting output from the labourers engaged in agriculture fields. They enjoy with the stipulated wages without giving the output. This has necessitated the farming community to quit agriculture and change to horticulture produces. How the Labour Ministry is going to resolve the labour problems is a million dollar question.
    The Economic Times