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Pay reduction: What are the ways in which pay reduction shall be done which shall be legally valid? a) Is Business slow down / recession in the industry shall be cited as the reason for Pay cut. Whether officially the reduction in pay particulars should be intimated to employees by issuing letter? Is forced leave (without pay) an option? If so, to what extent this can be done (Say 50% of the monthly working days - Is it possible), Whether Salary can be reduced without allowing accumulation (booking in accounts for future payment) purely on business slowdown. Whether government officials such as Inspector of Factories should be officially communicated or just employee consent letter for pay reduction is sufficient. This is for Manufacturing unit.


There are different views and perspectives about salary reduction. The basic issue is that the reduced salary should never be less than the statutory minimum wages fixed for the scheduled employment. If it falls below the minimum wages, the government will interfere.

Second, as per section 12 of the EPF and MP Act, you are not expected to reduce the wages on which PF is being contributed. But this will not apply to any contribution on salary above Rs 15000. Therefore, any reduction of salary upto a level of Rs 15000 shall be permitted by the EPF authorities.

Third, there should be a a proper settlement with the employees regarding pay reduction. Your question " Whether officially the reduction in pay particulars should be intimated to employees by issuing letter?" is surprising because without any communication how can you implement any HR policy? Not only communication but in this issue there cannot be a communication before you have taken the workers in to confidence. Therefore, if you are facing economic slow down, you should first arrange a meeting of the workers and employees. You should explain to them the reason for slow down and the ways to come out of it. Finally put the option of pay cut as one of the means to avoid complete shut down of the unit. You cannot place just pay cut as the sole means but you should place other cost reduction possibilities and finally come to pay cut also. Once the workers agree, you can make a settlement and a copy of the same shall be sent to Labour department.

Accumulated stock or non availability of materials for production is one of the reasons for declaring lay off in the unit. Reduction of working days from 26 days to 12/ 15 days is like lay off. In that arrangement you will have to take permission from the Labour department if you have more than 100 employees. Moreover, for the remaining days you will have to pay half the wages as lay off compensation. Therefore, that is not a good option. At the same time, you can make a settlement with the workers that there will be work for 12 or 15 days only in a month and that the workers will be deployed in rotation. By this you can also avoid lay off.

A settlement shall be for a certain period, say six months. For this period, you can pay reduced pay. Once the slow down is over or the period of settlement is over, you can start paying full wages from that date onwards and not with retrospective date. That means, you need not provide for salary in the books of accounts.

Fourth, there should not be full salary for managerial cadre employees and those who are 'with the management" and reduced salary to the poor working class people. In fact, a reduction of salary as a measure of cost reduction should start from high salary employees and not from the workers.

Whatever decision is taken or settlement is made shall be made known to the Inspector of Factories and Boilers also.

From India, Kannur

Hi Balamurgan,

There are some general guidance on this matter. For specific legal advice, you should consult an employment attorney.

In general, pay reduction should be approached with caution and in compliance with local labour laws and employment contracts.
Here are some considerations:

Citing Business Slowdown/Recession:
Citing a business slowdown or recession as the reason for a pay cut is a common practice. It's important to have documented evidence supporting this claim, such as financial statements, market trends, or any other relevant data.

Official Notification:

It is advisable to officially notify employees of any changes in their pay through a written letter. This letter should clearly state the reason for the pay reduction, the new pay structure, and any other relevant details.

Forced Leave (Without Pay):
Forced unpaid leave is generally allowed in many jurisdictions, but there are often limits on how and when it can be implemented. The extent to which it can be done may be subject to local labour laws and employment contracts.

Salary Reduction Without Accumulation:
Again, this may be possible depending on local labour laws and employment contracts. However, it's important to note that unilaterally reducing an employee's salary without their consent may not be legally valid in many jurisdictions.
Communication with Government Officials:
Depending on your jurisdiction and industry, you may be required to inform government officials (such as Inspector of Factories) about significant changes in employment conditions. This is often a legal requirement.

Employee Consent:
It's generally important to obtain employee consent for any significant changes to their employment terms, especially when it comes to matters like pay reduction. In some jurisdictions, unilateral pay cuts without consent may be illegal.
Manufacturing Unit Specifics:

Specific regulations and considerations may apply to manufacturing units. It's important to consult with legal counsel or industry experts who are familiar with the laws and regulations in your specific industry.
Seek Legal Advice:

Before implementing any pay reduction, especially in a manufacturing unit, it is highly advisable to consult with an employment attorney who is familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction and that labour laws can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another, and they can change over time. It's crucial to stay informed about the specific regulations that apply to your location and industry. Always consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your situation.

From India, Bangalore

Professional advice/ suggestion with sound subject knowledge and practical experience is always good rather than providing reply using ChatGPT. As an AI language model, ChatGPT can sometimes provide incorrect or inaccurate answers.

Senior Members are expected to share their own ideas / suggestions with their years of experience in HR. We love to hear to your own thoughts /advise out of your expertise in the HR field In worst case if ChatGPT is the source of reply then at least there should be some disclaimer about the source of answer.

If the Members can get reply through Chatgpt itself then what is the need of this Forum.. all can rely on ChatGPT directly.

From India, Madras
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