Bill to facilitate wage payment digitally, via cheque passed

By: | Published: February 9, 2017 6:08 AM

Parliament on Wednesday passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which allows an employer to pay wages of less than R18,000 a month by cheque or digitally to bank accounts, besides in cash.

Parliament on Wednesday passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which allows an employer to pay wages of less than R18,000 a month by cheque or digitally to bank accountsParliament on Wednesday passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which allows an employer to pay wages of less than R18,000 a month by cheque or digitally to bank accounts

Parliament on Wednesday passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which allows an employer to pay wages of less than R18,000 a month by cheque or digitally to bank accounts, besides in cash, without the written consent from the employee for the same.

The Bill will also enable both the Centre and states to specify the industrial/other units by gazette notification, “the employer of which shall pay to every employed person, the wages ONLY by cheque or by crediting in his bank account”.

Replying members’ questions in the Rajya Sabha, where it was passed by voice vote on Wednesday, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the Bill would improve the compliance of labour laws, reduce exploitation of workers and strengthen workers’ rights.

We want them to get their wages through a transparent manner,” he said.

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The minister had introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha on December 15, 2016, just before the winter session ended. The President then issued an ordinance on December 28. The Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017, replacing the earlier Bill, was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday evening.

It also provides for six months imprisonment for violation of the Act. Moreover, the inspector can initiate appropriate action under the Factories Act, 1948. The labour ministry believes that the electronic mode of payment of wages will reduce complaints regarding non-payment or part payment of minimum wages, besides serving the objective of a digital/less-cash economy.

It will also ensure minimum wages are paid to employees and their social security rights are protected. Thus, the employers can no longer under-quote the number of employees they employ to avoid subscribing to EPFO or ESIC schemes.

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