The labour ministry is keen that the amendments to the Payment of Wages Act are passed in the current session of Parliament itself in order to ensure that all industrial workers get their wages only through the banking channel and not otherwise.
Section 6 of the extant Act states that all wages to the persons employed in the industry be paid in current coin or currency notes or in both. However, the employer may, after obtaining the written authorisation of the employed person, pay the wages either by cheque or by crediting the wages in his bank account.
The Act applies to both central and state sectors. There are certain industries like the railways, transport services, mines and oilfields etc, which are under the central sphere and areas like construction, water and others governed by the states.
“We are amending the Act for making a provision whereby the appropriate government can issue a notification specifying the industries where wages shall be paid through bank transfer or cheque only. The idea is to bring all work-force under the banking system,” a senior labour ministry official said.
The official, however, said the proposed amendment would allow the appropriate governments — both Centre and state — to specify the industries where wages would have to be mandatorily paid through the banking system only.
“We are targeting both organised and unorganised sectors. States will decide the industries under their jurisdiction where it would be made a must while the Centre would decide on incorporating areas under its jurisdiction. The decision will be left to the appropriate government,” the official said.
Even though amending an Act is a cumbersome process, labour ministry officials are hopeful of sailing the amendment through in the current session.
The labour ministry has already sent an advisory to all state governments, labour department offices and concerned ministries asking them to ensure that payment of wages are done through banks only.