Workers working at a road construction site in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Cabinet Approves Code On Wages Bill

The Union Cabinet approved the Code on Wages Bill which seeks to subsume existing laws related to workers remuneration and enable the Centre to fix minimum wages for the entire country.

The Code on Wages is one of the four codes that would subsume 44 labour laws with certain amendments to improve the ease of doing business and attract investment for spurring growth.

The four codes will deal with wages, social security, industrial safety and welfare, and industrial relations.

"Cabinet approved bill on Wage Code," Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said after the Cabinet meeting. The government looks to push the bill for passage in the ongoing session of Parliament.

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The previous Modi government had introduced the wages code bill in the Lok Sabha on Aug. 10, 2017. The bill was referred to the the Parliamentary Standing Committee which submitted its report on Dec. 18, 2018.

The bill, however, lapsed after the 16th Lok Sabha was dissolved in May.

The bill provides that the central government will fix minimum wages for certain sectors, including railways and mines, while the states would be free to set minimum wages for other category of employments.

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

The code also provides for setting up of a national minimum wage. The central government can set a separate minimum wage for different regions or states. The draft law also says that the minimum wage would be revised every five years.

Earlier in June, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar had said that his ministry would push for the passage of the bill in the June-July session of Parliament.

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Bloomberg Quint

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