Do not cut jobs or trim wages: Labour Ministry to employers

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 23, 2020

Employees of a unit made non-operational due to Covid-19 will be deemed to be on duty, says Labour Secretary

The Labour Ministry has advised all companies — both in the private and public sector — not to cut jobs or salaries, including those of casual workers.

In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories, Labour Secretary Heeralal Samariya called for a joint effort by all sections of society to address the impact of Covid-19. He expressed apprehensions that the situation may lead to lay-offs or employees being forced to go on leave without pay.

“In the backdrop of such a challenging situation all the employers of public/private establishments may be advised to extend their coordination by not terminating their employees, particularly casual or contractual workers, from their jobs, or reducing their wages,” he appealed.

Retrenchment fears

Because of the lockdown in over 80 districts nationwide — and the stoppage of manufacturing activities in many companies and closure of malls, cinema halls and other shopping establishments — there is fear that lakhs of employees will be retrenched. In fact, many hospitality companies have already asked most of their employees to go on leave without pay.

If a worker takes leave, he/she should be deemed to be on duty without any consequential deduction in wages for that period, said Samariya. Further, if a unit is made non-operational due to Covid-19, its employees will be deemed to be on duty. Companies such as Maruti and Hyundai, which have shut down production, employ a large number of casual workers.

Job or pay cuts in the current situation will only deepen the crisis, said the Labour Secretary. Not only will it weaken the financial condition of the employees but also dampen their morale. “In view of this, you are requested to issue the necessary advisory to the employers/owners of all the establishments in your States,” he advised the senior-most bureaucrats of all the States.

Published on March 23, 2020

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