Union Minister for Labour and Employment, Bandaru Dattatreya has said that the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 will be amended to make minimum wages statutory and binding. Talking to media persons in Chennai on the sidelines of the Southern Regional Conference of State Labour Ministers and senior officials, he said minimum wages for unskilled, semiskilled and skilled labourers currently remain only advisory in nature.
The Payment of Bonus Amendment Act 2015 has been passed by the Parliament, providing for better coverage of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees State Insurance Corporation(ESIC) facilities, though its implementation is delayed as employers went to the courts.He said he hopes for an early resolution to it.
The minister said, nationwide, select ESI hospitals will be upgraded into 100-bedded and 30-bedded hospitals in the next two years to give tertiary care to subscribing workers. He informed that establishments have been mandated to credit wages directly into the bank accounts of employees or disburse by cheques so that compliance of payments of wages and their EPF and ESI subscriptions could be made leak-proof.
When asked if demonetization has affected jobs in the organized and unorganized sectors, Mr Dattatreya clarified that withdrawal of old high value currencies have been made just two months back and an elaborate study will be too early at this stage.
At present there are 43 central laws related to employees welfare, some dating back to the year 1925. Mr Dattatreya said all 43 laws will be simplified into four different codes on wages, industrial relations, social security and safe working conditions.
He informed that the Centre is contemplating on amending Plantations Labour Act, 1951 to enable local bodies and State and Central governments to undertake development works inside private plantations to ensure the welfare of workers.