Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant

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Hi,
Section 22 (notice of removal) under the above Act (applicable to Haryana) provides inter alia, that no employee shall be removed from service unless and until one month’s previous notice or pay in lieu thereof has been given to him ... The term 'pay' has not been defined under this Act. I am trying to ascertain the components of 'notice pay' that will be payable to the employee being terminated from service. The term “wages” has been else where in the above Act which has the meaning assigned to it in the Payment of Wages Act,
1936 however 'wages' has not been used in Section 22. Has anyone dealt with this issue and can guide on the suggested interpretation of 'pay' for the purposes of calculation of pay in lieu of notice ?
Thank you.

From India, New Delhi
Dear Priyanka,
The consideration payable by the employer in a certain periodicity to the employee for the services rendered by him during that wage period under the contract of employment is the monetary compensation and it can be called by any name such as wages, salary,pay and the like. Such words are interchangeably used to denote the consideration which is capable of expression in terms of money. If you critically analyze the term "wages" defined u/s 2(vi) of the PWA,1936, certainly you will agree that it is the sum total of all remuneration including allowances payable to the employee for his services at the end of the wage period. Therefore, I feel that unnecessary indulgence in lexical semantics should be avoided in matters of routine compliance with legal provisions. Far-fetched etymological differences in the interpretation of legal terms would certainly lead to confusion only.
For your kind attention, apart from the definition clause u/s 2(1)(xxvii), the term wage/wages occurs in several places viz., sections 7(2), 14(b),15,17,18 etc., in the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act,1958. So far as I have seen, the term "Pay" has been used only twice in the Act u/s 22 "Notice of Removal" and u/s 23 "Notice by employee " in the context of termination of employment. What is contemplated therein is notice by either party prior to unilateral termination of the contract of employment or the payment of money proportionate to the notice period prescribed. In this connection, I draw your attention to the phrase " normal wages" explained u/s 7(2) of the Act in its explanation clause. In the light of the above observation, I do hope that you will agree with me that "notice pay" under the Act means the amount of gross wages payable in lieu of the no of month/days of notice prescribed therein.

From India, Salem
Dear Mr. Umakanthan M,
Apologies for the late reply. Many thanks for your keen insights and analysis.
While I largely agree with your interpretation, I do also believe that policy makers are entrusted with the task of responsible drafting. This could include using legal language as opposed to colloquial and mitigating the risk of drafting errors.
I am in sync with the arguments in the second paragraph of your response. To this, I would like to add that the stance that can be taken when interpreting labour laws is that since it is a beneficial legislation, it should be construed liberally.
Hence, we can refer to the meaning of wages under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 for the purposes of calculation of ‘notice pay’.
Thank you once again.
Best regards,
Priyanka

From India, New Delhi
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