Minimum Wages Act, 1948

The Minimum Wages Act is enacted for the purpose of fixing minimum rates of wages in certain employments.

Purpose

In order to prevent the exploitation of labour amidst the largely prevailing unemployment in India, the Central Government enacted this Act prescribing the minimum rates of wages less than which the employers are prohibited to pay the wages for certain employments.

The Central Government fixes and revises the minimum rate of wages from time to time considering the prevailing conditions and the consumer price index. The States and Union Territories shall follow these minimum wage rates along with their respective geographical conditions, and skillset of workforce.

Applicability

The provisions of this Act is applicable to the list of employments in certain industries provided under its Schedule.

This is a Central Act that is applicable to the whole of India.

The States and the Union Territories shall have their respective Rules framed aligning with this Act.

Minimum Rate of Wages

The Minimum Rate of Wages fixed or revised by the appropriate Government for the scheduled employments may consist of:

  1. 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
  2. a basic rate of wages with or without the cost of living allowance, and the cash value of the concessions in respect of supplies of essential commodities at concession rates, where so authorized; or
  3. an all-inclusive rate allowing for the basic rate, the cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concessions, if any.

The cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concessions in respect of supplies of essential commodities at concession rates 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.

Maintenance of registers and records

Every employer shall:

  1. maintain such registers and records giving such particulars of employees employed by him, the work performed by them, the wages paid to them, the receipts given by them and such other particulars and in such form as may be prescribed.
  2. keep exhibited, in such manner as may be prescribed, in the factory, workshop or place where the employees in the scheduled employment may be employed, or in the case of out- workers, in such factory, workshop or place as may be used for giving out-work to them, notices in the prescribed form containing prescribed particulars.

The appropriate Government may, by rules made under this Act, provide for the issue of wage books or wage slips to employees employed in any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed and prescribe the manner in which entries shall be made and authenticated in such wage books or wage slips by the employer or his agent.

Form of registers and records

  1. A register of wages shall be maintained by every employer at the work-spot in Form X.
  2. Every employer shall in respect of each person employed in the establishment, complete the entries pertaining to a wage period:- in columns 1 to 15 of Form X, before the date on which the wages for such wage period fall due; and in columns 16 and 17 of the said Form, on the date when payment is made and obtain the signature or thumb impression of the employee in column 18 of the said Form on the date when payment is made.
  3. A wage slip in Form XI shall be issued by every employer to every person employed by him at least a day prior to the disbursement of wages.
  4. Every employer shall get the signature or thumb-impression of every person employed on the register of wages and wage slip.
  5. Entries in the register of wages and wages slips shall be a authenticated by the employer or any person authorized by him in this behalf.
  6. A muster roll shall be maintained by every employer at the work-sport and kept in Form V and the attendance of each person employed in the establishment shall be recorded daily in that form within 3 hours of the commencement of the work shift or relay for the day as the same may be.

Compliances

Preservation of registers

A register required to be maintained under rules 21(4), 25(2) and 26(1) and the muster roll required to be maintained under rule 26(5) shall be preserved for a period of three years after the date of last entry made therein.

References

The Minimum Wages Act, 1948

The Minimum Wages (Central) Rules, 1950

The Minimum Wages (Central Advisory Board) Rules, 2011

Notification dated 22 Mar 2016 - Re-constitution of MWAB

Notification dated 18 Nov 2016 - on Re-constitution of CAB

Notification dated 19 Jan 2017 - Revision of minimum rates of wages in the Central Sphere - Final

Notification dated 23 Feb 2017 - Revision of minimum rates of wages in the Central Sphere - Corrigendum

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