Now, pay cheques for labourers Maharashtra First To Make Cheque Payment Mandatory; Move To Benefit 2 Cr Workers M Padmakshan & Abhiram Ghadyalpatil MUMBAI
ALL workers in Maharashtra — who come under the Minimum Wages Act and Payment of Wages Act — from now on will get their wages only through cheques.
In a move intended to stop exploitation of labour class by the middlemen, the Maharashtra Assembly last week passed a bill mandating payment of wages only through cheques to all organised and unorganised workers. Both the Houses of the state legislature passed an amendment to the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, and Payment of Wages Act, 1936, to facilitate this change.
Maharashtra is the first state to pass to make the cheque payment mandatory. The move is estimated to benefit about two crore workers in the state. For now, the Act will be applicable to all those workers who are in continuous employment earning more than Rs 3,000 per month.
Workers are expected to gain from this move. Foremost among the gains is that they will be ensured continuity in employment provident fund (EPF) benefits, even after the labourer shifts from one job to another or one location to another. In many cases, mostly in the unorganised sectors, the employers do not pay EPF at all or it gets discontinued during shifting of jobs.
Besides, it intends to put an end to the exploitation of workers by middlemen. Part of the wages of casual/contract workers are usually siphoned off by middlemen, though these workers have to sign on records showing full receipt of wages. Making cheque payment mandatory is expected to lend transparency in the labour market in the state.
It is easy to make inflated labour bills if wages are paid in cash. The existing system helps generate black money. At the same time, paying wages in cash is also viewed as an easy route to fuse black money into the mainstream system.
“This is an all-out effort of the government to ensure fair wages, decent work and financial inclusion to all labourers in the state. It’s a landmark move for the labour force,” said Kavita Gupta, secretary, labour, government of Maharashtra. The state also plans to implement the provision by putting in place a labour management system in which bank accounts of all the labourers will be opened. The government has called for a tender for a total service provider who would be tying up with banks to facilitate opening “zero balance no frills” account. The labourers will be able to operate the account after bio-metric authentication.
The state in the assembly also said that after the successful implementation of this Act, those who have not been covered so far by the amendment such as agricultural workers, sugar cane workers and domestic workers also will be brought under the purview of the Act. The state is planning to extend the benefit to workers not under continuous employment as well. CUTTING THE MIDDLEMAN
In a move
intended to stop exploitation of labour class by the middlemen, state assembly last week passed a bill mandating payment of wages only via cheques to all organised & unorganised workers For now,
the Act will be applicable to all those workers who are in continuous employment, earning over Rs 3,000 pm The Act
will ensure continuity in EPF benefits, even after the labourer shifts job, location 28th April 2010 From India, Delhi