The Scheme of the Act
Section 1. Short title and extents
(1) This Act may be called the Minimum Wages Act 1948.
(2) It extends to the whole of India.
Section 2. Interpretation
In this Act unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context –
(a) “adolescent” means a person who has completed his fourteenth year of age but has not completed his eighteenth year;
(aa) “adult” means a person who has completed his eighteenth year of age;
(b) “appropriate government” means –
(i) in relation to any scheduled employment carried on by or under the authority of the Central Government or a railway administration] or in relation to a mine oilfield or major port or any corporation established by a Central Act the Central Government and
(ii) in relation to any other scheduled employment the State Government;
(bb) “child” means a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age;
(c) “competent authority” means the authority appointed by the appropriate government by notification in its Official Gazette to ascertain from time to time the cost of living index number applicable to the employees employed in the scheduled employments specified in such notification;
(d) “cost of living index number” in relation to employees in any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed means the index number ascertained and declared by the competent authority by notification in the Official Gazette to be the cost of living index number applicable to employee in such employment;
(e) “employer” means any person who employs whether directly or through another person or whether on behalf of himself or any other person one or more employees in any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act and includes except in sub-section (3) of section 26 –
(i) in a factory where there is carried on any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act any person named under clause (f) of sub-section (1) of section 7 of the Factories Act 1948 (63 of 1948) as manager of the factory;
(ii) in any scheduled employment under the control of any government in India in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act the person or authority appointed by such government for the supervision and control of employees or where no person or authority is so appointed the head of the department;
(iii) in any scheduled employment under any local authority in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act the persons appointed by such authority for the supervision and control of employees or where no person is so appointed the chief executive officer of the local authority;
(iv) in any other case where there is carried on any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act any person responsible to the owner for the supervision and control of the employees or for the payment of wages;
(f) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(g) “schedule employment” means an employment specified in the Schedule or any process or branch of work forming part of such employment;
(h) “wages” means all remuneration capable of being expressed in terms of money which would if the terms of the contract of employment express or implied were fulfilled be payable to a person employed in respect of his employment or of work done in such employment and includes house rent allowance but does not include –
(i) the value of –
(a) any house accommodation supply of light water medical attendance or
(b) any other amenity or any service excluded by general or special order of the appropriate government;
(ii) any contribution paid by the employer to any person fund or provident fund or under any scheme of social insurance;
(iii) any traveling allowance or the value of any traveling concession;
(iv) any sum paid to the person employed to defray special expenses entailed on him by the nature of his employment; or
(v) any gratuity payable on discharge;
(i) “employee” means any person who is employed for hire or reward to do any work skilled or unskilled manual or clerical in a scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed; and includes an out-worker to whom any articles or materials are given out by another person to be made up cleaned washed altered ornamented finished repaired adapted or otherwise processed for sale for the purposes of the trade or business of that other person where the process is to be carried out either in the home of the out-worker or in some other premises not being premises under the control and management of that other person; and also includes an employee declared to be an employee by the appropriate government; but does not include any member of the Armed Forces of the Union.
Section 3. Fixing of minimum rates of wages
(1) The appropriate government shall in the manner hereinafter provided –
(a) fix the minimum rates of wages payable to employees employed in an employment specified in Part I or Part II of the Schedule and in an employment added to either Party by notification under section 27 :
Provided that the appropriate government may in respect of employees employed in an employment specified in Part II of the Schedule instead of fixing minimum rates of wages under this clause for the whole State fix such rates for a part of the State or for any specified class or classes of such employment in the whole State or part thereof;
(b) review at such intervals as it may think fit such intervals not exceeding five years the minimum rates of wages so fixed and revise the minimum rates if necessary :
Provided that where for any reason the appropriate government has not reviewed the minimum rates of wages fixed by it in respect of any scheduled employment within any interval of five years nothing contained in this clause shall be deemed to prevent it from reviewing the minimum rates after the expiry of the said period of five years and revising them if necessary and until they are so revised the minimum rates in force immediately before the expiry of the said period of five years shall continue in force.
(1A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) the appropriate government may refrain from fixing minimum rates of wages in respect of any scheduled employment in which there are in the whole State less than one thousand employees engaged in such employment but if at any time the appropriate government comes to a finding after such inquiry as it may make or cause to be made in this behalf that the number of employees in any scheduled employment in respect of which it has refrained from fixing minimum rates of wages has risen to one thousand or more it shall fix minimum rates of wages payable to employees in such employment as soon as may be after such finding.
(2) The appropriate government may fix –
(a) a minimum rate of wages for time work (hereinafter referred to as “a minimum time rate”);
(b) a minimum rates of wages for piece work (hereinafter referred to as “a minimum piece rate”);
(c) a minimum rate of remuneration to apply in the case of employees employed on piece work for the purpose of securing to such employees a minimum rate of wages on a time work basis (hereinafter referred to as “a guaranteed time rate”);
(d) a minimum rate (whether a time rate or a piece rate) to apply in substitution for the minimum rate which would otherwise be applicable in respect of overtime work done by employees (hereinafter referred to as “overtime rate”).
(2A) Where in respect of an industrial dispute relating to the rates of wages payable to any of the employees employed in a scheduled employment any proceeding is pending before a Tribunal or National Tribunal under the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 (14 of 1947) or before any like authority under any other law for the time being in force or an award made by any Tribunal National Tribunal or such authority is in operation and a notification fixing or revising the minimum rates of wages in respect of the scheduled employment is issued during the pendency of such proceeding or the operation of the award then notwithstanding anything contained in this Act the minimum rates of wages so fixed or so revised shall not apply to those employees during the period in which the proceeding is pending and the award made therein is in operation or as the case may be where the notification is issued during the period of operation of an award during that period; and where such proceeding or award relates to the rates of wages payable to all the employees in the scheduled employment no minimum rates of wages shall be fixed or revised in respect of that employment during the said period.
(3) In fixing or revising minimum rates of wages under this section –
(a) different minimum rates of wages may be fixed for –
(i) different scheduled employments;
(ii) different classes of work in the same scheduled employment;
(iii) adults adolescents children and apprentices;
(iv) different localities;
(b) minimum rates of wages may be fixed by any one or more of the following wage periods; namely :
(i) by the hour
(ii) by the day
(iii) by the month or
(iv) by such other larger wage-period as may be prescribed
and where such rates are fixed by the day or by the month the manner of calculating wages for a month or for a day as the case may be may be indicated :
Provided that where any wage-periods have been fixed under section 4 of the Payment of Wages Act 1936 (4 of 1936) minimum wages shall be fixed in accordance therewith.
Section 4. Minimum rate of wages
(1) Any minimum rate of wages fixed or revised by the appropriate government in respect of scheduled employments under section 3 may consist of –
(i) a basic rate of wages and a special allowance at a rate to be adjusted at such intervals and in such manner as the appropriate government may direct to accord as nearly as practicable with the variation in the cost of living index number applicable to such workers (hereinafter referred to as the “cost of living allowance”); or
(ii) a basic rate of wages with or without the cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concessions in respect of suppliers of essential commodities at concession rates where so authorized; or
(iii) an all-inclusive rate allowing for the basic rate the cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concessions if any.
(2) The cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concessions in respect of supplied of essential commodities at concession rate shall be computed by the competent authority at such intervals and in accordance with such directions as may be specified or given by the appropriate government.
Section 5. Procedure for fixing and revising minimum wages
(1) In fixing minimum rates of wages in respect of any scheduled employment for the first time under this Act or in revising minimum rates of wages so fixed the appropriate government shall either –
(a) appoint as many committees and sub-committees as it considers necessary to hold enquiries and advise it in respect of such fixation or revision as the case may be or
(b) by notification in the Official Gazette publish its proposals for the information of persons likely to be affected thereby and specify a date not less than two months from the date of the notification on which the proposals will be taken into consideration.
(2) After considering the advice of the committee or committee appointed under clause (a) of sub-section (1) or as the case may be all representations received by it before the date specified in the notification under clause (b) of that sub-section the appropriate government shall by notification in the Official Gazette fix or as the case may be revise the minimum rates of wages in respect of each scheduled employment and unless such notification otherwise provides it shall come into force on the expiry of three months from the date of its issue :
Provided that where the appropriate government proposes to revise the minimum rates of wages by the mode specified in clause (b) of sub-section (1) the appropriate government shall consult the Advisory Board also.
Section 6 : Advisory committees and sub-committees [Repealed by the Minimum Wages (Amendment) Act 1957]
Section 7. Advisory Board
For the purpose of co-coordinating work of committees and sub-committees appointed under section 5 and advising the appropriate government generally in the matter of fixing and revising minimum rates of wages the appropriate government shall appoint an Advisory Board.
Section 8. Central Advisory Board
(1) For the purpose of advising the Central and State Governments in the matters of the fixation and revision of minimum rates of wages and other matters under this Act and for co-coordinating the work of the Advisory Boards the Central Government shall appoint a Central Advisory Board.
(2) The Central Advisory Board shall consist of persons to be nominated by the Central Government representing employers and employees in the scheduled employments who shall be equal in number and independent persons not exceeding one-third of its total number of members; one of such independent persons shall be appointed the Chairman of the Board by the Central Government.
Section 9. Composition of committees etc.
Each of the committees sub-committees and the Advisory Board shall consist of persons to be nominated by the appropriate government representing employers and employees in the scheduled employments who shall be equal in number and independent persons not exceeding one-third of its total number of members; one of such independent persons shall be appointed the Chairman by the appropriate government.
Section 10. Correction of errors
(1) The appropriate government may at any time by notification in the Official Gazette correct clerical or arithmetical mistakes in any order fixing or revising minimum rates of wages under this Act or errors arising therein from any accidental slip or omission.
(2) Every such notification shall as soon as may be after it is issued be placed before the Advisory Board for information.