Equal pay for equal work may soon become a reality for all casual workers engaged by the central government and its PSUs.
Equal pay for equal work may soon become a reality for all casual workers engaged by the central government and its PSUs. The Union government has asked all ministries, departments and PSUs to take further action on a Delhi High Court order regarding ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ for casual workers. In an Office Memorandum dated October 7, 2019, the Department of Personnel and Training directed the ministries/department/PSUs to submit the action taken report on the matter. Earlier, the High Court had asked for Centre’s response on the implementation of equal pay for equal work law as mandated by a Supreme Court judgement.
In an OM dated September 4, 2019, the DoPT had asked the ministries/departments to follow its instructions issued through an OM dated 07.06.1988 in “letter and spirit”. The 31-year-old OM had stated the following for making payments to contractual workers:
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- Where the nature of work entrusted to the casual workers and regular employees is the same, the casual workers may be paid at the rate of 1/30th of the pay at the minimum of the relevant pay scale plus dearness allowance for work of 8 hours a day.
- In cases where the work done by a casual worker is different from the work done by a regular employee, the casual worker may be paid only the minimum wages notified by the Ministry of Labour & Employment or the State Government/Union Territory Administration, whichever is higher, as per the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
- Persons on daily wages (casual workers) should not be recruited for work of regular nature.
The next date of hearing in the matter in High Court is on November 1. The DoPT’s OM had asked departments to complete all actions in this matter before 25-10-2019 (today).
High Court judgement
In an order dated 28th March 2019, the High Court had directed the Central Government to “file the status report on affidavit as to whether all Government Departments/PSUs/Corporations under the Central Government including CWC are complying with the law declared by the Supreme Court in Jagjit Singh (supra) by paying the wages in terms of the directions of the Supreme Court to the temporarily engaged employees (daily-wage employees, ad-hoc appointees, employees appointed on casual basis, contractual employees and the like). If all the Government Departments! PS Us/Corporations are not complying with the directions of the Supreme Court in Jag/it Singh (supra), the Government shall forthwith issue O.M to all the Government Departments/PSUs!Corporations to comply with the aforesaid directions and place the same before this Court on the next date of hearing.”
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Supreme Court judgement
In State of Punjab v. Jagjit Singh, (2017) 1 SCC 148, the Supreme Court held that principle of “equal pay for equal work” expounded through various decisions of Supreme Court constitutes law declared by Supreme Court, which is binding on all courts in India and is applicable to all temporarily engaged employees (daily-wage employees, ad-hoc appointees, employees appointed on casual basis, contractual employees and the like) who are entitled to minimum of the regular pay-scale, on account of their performing the same duties, which are discharged by those engaged on regular basis against sanctioned posts.