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Government soon to launch pathbreaking law on labour reforms

In what could be a major push towards pathbreaking labour reforms by the new NDA government, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday is likely to clear the Code on Wages Bill 2019, which would ensure the payment of minimum wages to all employees across all sectors.

This proposed legislation will be an amendment to the existing Minimum Wages Act.

The Code on Wages Bill 2017 was earlier introduced by the NDA government in the Lok Sabha in August 2017, but it was immediately referred to a parliamentary panel on labour. Later, when it was brought back to the Lower House, it lapsed as the 16th Lok Sabha was dissolved.

Now, having won the Lok Sabha polls with a far greater majority, the BJP-led NDA government is keen to push the new law which is seen as one of the significant steps towards labour reforms.

According to sources privy to these developments, the newly-constituted Union Cabinet will have its second meeting on June 12, where it could discuss the Code on Wages Bill 2019, whose main provisions include the payment of minimum wages to all employees, provisions regarding payment of wages for all employees with no gender discrimination in wage payments.

The new provision also ensures mandatory revision of wages after every five years. The Centre could also set up a national minimum wage benchmark, which may vary for different geographical areas.

Overall, the new legislation will be a significant improvement over existing wage rules, official sources said, as it would be applicable to all forms of employment and to workers in both the organised and the unorganised sectors.

The current legislation is limited to employees only in scheduled employment.

This step is aimed at bringing equity in wages across sectors.



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