The Centre has proposed nine hours of works and a net intake of 2,700 calories in a preliminary draft of the Wages (Central) Rules. However, it has not proposed floor wages. The Labour Ministry has invited comments from stakeholders, including the public, which, can be submitted till December 1.

The draft rules prescribe six criteria for the fixation of minimum rate of wages.

They are: The standard working-class family, which includes a spouse and two children apart from the earning worker (an equivalent of three adult consumption units); a net intake of 2,700 calories per day per consumption unit; 66 metres of 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 the minimum wage; and expenditure for children’s education, medical requirement and recreation, and expenditure on contingencies, to constitute 25 per cent of the minimum wages.

Floor wage

The Centre will constitute a board for the fixation of basic rate of floor wage. The board will suggest minimum living standards taking into various factors. Its recommendations will be circulated among States and, based on their views, the basic floor wage will be fixed.

This basic rate may be revised once in five years. Once the rate of wages for a day is fixed, the amount will be divided by eight for arriving at the per-hour wage, and multiplied by 26 for fixing the per-month rate. There is a proposal on the time interval for the revision of dearness allowance (DA).

Dearness allowance

Here, the draft says that an endeavour will be made such that the cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concession in respect of essential commodities at concession rate are computed before April 1 and October 1 each year to revise the DA payable to employees on minimum wages.

The draft proposes the categorisation of geographical areas into metropolitan, non-metropolitan and rural areas. A technical committee will advise the Centre on categorising the occupation of the employees into four: Unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled. The draft has also given the list of occupations to be included in these four categories.

Further, the draft has proposed that nine hours be defined as a normal working day. ‘Night shift’ will refer to an employee working on a shift which extends beyond midnight; a week of night shift would be followed by a ‘whole-day’ holiday.