The Labour Ministry has notified provisions related to the constitution of an advisory board for the Code on Wages, 2019.

Code on Wages is one of the four labour Acts that are likely to come into effect on April 1 next years. These four codes will subsume all Central laws, and are intended to boost ease of doing business in India.

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The latest notification covers five subsections of Section 42, two of Section 67 and Section 69. Section 42 prescribes the mechanism for an advisory board. It says the Central government will constitute the Central Advisory Board. It will consist of persons to be nominated by the Central government representing employers and employees, independent persons, and five representatives of such State governments as may be nominated by the Central government. Here, one-third of the members will be women and a member will be appointed by the Central government as the chairperson of the board.

Board’s duties

The Central Advisory Board will, from time to time, advise the Centre on issues relating to the fixation or revision of minimum wages and other related matters. Also, it will suggest ways to increase employment opportunities for women, and the extent to which women may be employed in such establishments or employments as the Central government may, by notification, specify. The law says the Central Advisory Board will regulate its own procedures including those of the committees and sub-committees. Sub-sections of Section 67 deal with rules and regulations and terms of the members of the board.

Section 69 of the Code says the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 are being repealed.

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In July, the Centre release the draft of rules for the Code. One of the key provisions talks about the fixing of minimum wages. According to the draft, for calculating the minimum rate of wages on a day basis, six criteria can be used: standard family of four (self, spouse and two children), net intake of 2,700 calories per day per consumption unit, 66 metres cloth per year per standard working-class family, housing rent expenditure to constitute 10 per cent of food and clothing expenditure, fuel, electricity and other miscellaneous items of expenditure to constitute 20 per cent of minimum wage, and expenditure for children’s education, medical requirement, recreation and expenditure on contingencies to constitute 25 per cent of minimum wage.

Draft rule proposals

The draft proposed to divide geographical areas into three categories: metropolitan, non-metropolitan and rural. There is a proposal to form a technical committee to suggest, modify, add or delete particular occupations in the tentative list of four categories: unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled.

The draft included 123 occupations under unskilled category comprising loader/unloader, wood cutter, office boy, cleaner, gate man, sweeper, attendants, beldar etc. The semi-skilled category has 127 types of occupation which include butler/cook, khalasi ,, masalchi , dhobi and jamadar . The skilled category has 320 types of occupations including munshi , typist, book keeper, librarian, Hindi translator and data entry operator. The highly skilled category has 111 types of occupations, including armed security guards, head mechanics, compounder and blacksmith.