On 10 August 2017, the Code of Wages Bill, 2017, was introduced before the Lok Sabha. This is part of the initiative to rationalise the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 into one consolidated and updated legislation. The Bill proposes the following:
- At present, the provisions do not cover a substantial number of workers, as the applicability of the Acts is restricted to the Scheduled Employments / Establishments. However, the new Code on Wages will ensure minimum wages to one and all and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector of employment without any wage ceiling;
- A statutory National Minimum Wage for different geographical areas. This will ensure that no State Government fixes the minimum wage below the National Minimum Wages for that particular area as notified by the Central Government.
- The payment of wages through cheque or digital/ electronic mode, to promote digitization and extend wage and social security to the worker. Provision of an Appellate Authority has also been made between the Claim Authority and the Judicial Forum which will lead to speedy, cheaper and efficient redressal of grievances and settlement of claims.
- The Central Government, before fixing the national minimum wage, may obtain the advice of the Central Advisory Board, having representatives from employers and employees. Thus, the Code provides for a consultative mechanism before determining the national minimum wage.