PMO to study equal work, equal wage policy

The Prime Minister’s Office, which has seized the issue of equal work and equal pay, will seek the views of all the ministries and private business chambers about the financial implications on them if the policy is implemented.

Labour unions are exerting pressure on the government as they would like all the facilities enjoyed by regular employees like wage rate, working hours, holidays and social security benefits to be extended to contract labourers as well, if both employees doing work of similar nature. Following this demand, the PMO has sought a study report from the V V Giri National Labour Institute, an autonomous body under the Union Labour and Employment Ministry, about the financial implications posed.

“The institute has submitted its report to the PMO. Soon the Centre will also consult states governments about this,” sources in the PMO told Deccan Herald.

In the absence of the exact numbers of contract labourers employed in the country, the Union Labour and Employment has asked the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation for details from the National Sample Survey to be given by the end of this year.

Cover contract workers

The labour unions have been demanding that the Centre amend the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970, to ensure that all the contract labourers also get the same benefits as regular employees if both perform similar jobs. When the labour unions have raised the issue again at the recently held 44th session of the labour standing committee, Union Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge promised early action.

But due to thousands of people working on contract basis in most of the ministries and public sector undertakings, the government is dithering about taking any decision as it may cause a huge financial burden to them, according to sources.

The Planning Commission, which is working on reducing the number of central labour laws from the existing 43 to 14 by merging many of them, is also studying the issue of equal pay and equal wages.

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