Employers in India fear legal woes under Wage Code

Employers fear the new Wage Code could open the door to a greater number of employee complaints and unfounded prosecutions.
By: | August 26, 2019

The new Wage Code rule has made employers in India fearful of legal harassment, though it is being presented as fair to both employers and employees.

Under the new rules, an employee or registered trade union can prosecute an employer simply by filing a complaint before a Court of Law. Stipulations of the Wage Code include enforcing the minimum wage among both the formal and informal sector, while ensuring no gender discrimination in either recruitment or pay.

Some employers fear these new provisions, which came into force last month, could lead to increased legal harassment and make it easier for their employees to take action.

Michael Dias, secretary of the Employers Association-Delhi, an industry federation, said it empowers all employees to go ahead with legal action against employers, regardless of how much they earn.

However, a labour ministry official said that the Wage Code balances the rights of an employee and an employer.

In a separate court case involving labour laws,  an Indian worker was eventually given his job back 9 years after he had been wrongfully sacked. According to the worker, his former employer had not told him that he could return to work.

A Mumbai city labour court sentenced the factory owner to a month’s jail for not reinstating the employee following an order that was issued back in 2010. In the long-running case, a fine was not justified given the long lapse of time so a jail term to deter other wrongdoers was deemed the best solution.