The Union Cabinet on July 3, 2019 approved the Code of 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 in 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 the bill on Wage Code,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said after the Cabinet meeting.
• The previous Modi government had introduced the wages code bill in the Lok Sabha on August 10, 2017. The bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee which submitted its report on December 18, 2018.
• The bill, however, lapsed after the 16th Lok Sabha was dissolved in May.
• 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 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 another category of employment.
• The code also provides for the 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.