Minimum Wages Act, 1948
Minimum Wages Act, 1948
The Minimum Wage Act was passed in 1948 to secure the welfare of unorganized workers I certain industries by fixing the minimum rates of wages. The Act empowers the appropriate Government for fixation of minimum wages in employments enumerated in the schedule to the Act. The fixation of minimum wages related to the industries where sweated labour is most prevalent or where there is inevitable chance of exploitation. In prescribing the minimum wage rates, the capacity of the employers need not be considered as the State assumes that every employer pay the minimum wages if he employs labour.
Features of the Act
The broad features of the Minimum Wages Act are as under:
1. The Minimum Wages Act lays down the principles for fixation of :
i. A minimum time rate of wages,
ii. A minimum piece rate,
iii. A guaranteed time rate, and
iv. An overtime rate for different occupations, localities or classes of work and of adults, adolescents, children and apprentices.
2. The minimum rate of wages consist of :
i. A basic rate of wages and a cost of living allowances; or
ii. A basic rate of wages with or without the cost of living allowances and the cash value of the concessions in respect of essential commodities supplied at concessional rates.
3. The Act lays down that wages shall be paid in cash although it empowers the appropriate Government to authorize the payment of minimum wages either wholly or partly in kind in particular cases.
4. The Act provides that the cost of living allowances and cash value of the concessions in respect of supplies of essential commodities at concessional rate shall be computed by the competent authority at certain intervals. In case of undertakings controlled by the Union territories and Central Government, the Director of Labour Bureau is the competent authority.
5. The Act empowers the appropriate Government to fix the number of hours of work per day, to provide for a weekly holiday and the payment of overtime wages of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under the Act.
6. The Act lays down for the appointment of Inspectors and other authorities to hear and decide claims arising out of payment of wages less than minimum rates of wages and other matters regarding rest or overtime.
7. The Act provides the procedure for dealing with complaints arising out of the violation of the provisions of the Act and for imposing penalties for offences committed under this Act.