Kejri faces hurdle in ensuring wages on time for contract staff

Kejri faces hurdle in ensuring wages on time for contract staff

Kejri faces hurdle in ensuring wages on time for contract staff

The Arvind Kejriwal government seems to be struggling to ensure timely payment to contract workers engaged by various departments, despite a Cabinet decision to this effect last month.

The labour-friendly decision by the Cabinet appears to have  flopped in its first month itself as many departments are still to send a status report – confirming that all contract employees have been paid salary for March by April 15 – to Chief Secretary  K K Sharma.

Efforts blunted

The laxity by some heads of departments has also blunted the government’s efforts to discipline workforce suppliers who exploit their staff, employed in government departments, by delaying payment of wages.

The government had threatened to punish exploitative contractors by blacklisting them and forfeiture of their security deposits with different departments. 

The Labour Department has now shot off a reminder to all secretaries and heads of departments reminding them about the urgency to submit a certificate of compliance on timely payment of wages to contract employees.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has taken a stand that all contractual workers – even those working with a contractor hired by the government – should be paid wages for the previous month by 15th of every month.

He has already issued directions to all departments to follow the wage payment schedule in cases where they directly hire outsourced or contract workers. 

To safeguard the interests of contract workers, the Cabinet directed that “HoDs/Secretaries should use all powers at their disposal to ensure” that all employees get their salaries in time.

“If contractor fails to comply despite repeated attempts, HoD/Secretary shall be at liberty to cancel the contract,” said the Cabinet decision of March 22.

The Kejriwal-led government is also keen to centralise the process of hiring contractual workers.

The Cabinet has decided that “the Finance Department will take steps to empanel agencies which can supply workers to meet the requirements of different departments. The departments shall be at liberty to engage requisite workforce from such empanelled agencies”.

Sources said Kejriwal has ordered that contractors who do not pay their staff wages by April 15 will lose their government contracts and blacklisted for three years.

The Chief Secretary’s office has clarified that departments will be free to hire the affected staff as daily wage workers in case a contractor loses the contract for delaying salaries.
But this will be done for a maximum period of 89 days in one go and only as an interim measure.

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