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MHA order on payment of wages during Lock down - SC issues interim directions   Jun 12, 2020

In the batch of Petitions filed by Employers and Employers Associations, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has passed an interim order on 12th June, 2020 while adjourning the hearing in the last week of July 2020 and granting 4 weeks time to the Central Government to file its detailed reply. 

Highlights & Interim directions

Para 27. "It is true that the orders dated 29.03.2020 which was passed in exercise of power under Section 10(2)(l) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, stood withdrawn by subsequent order dated 17.05.2020 w.e.f. 18.05.2020. The consequence of the subsequent order dated 17.05.2020 is that the obligation cast on the employer to make payment of wages of their workers at their workplace, without any reduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown is no longer in operation. "  (emphasis added)

Para 33" It cannot be disputed that the lockdown measures enforced by the Government of India under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, had equally adverse effect on the employers as well as on employees. Various Industries, establishments were not allowed to function during the said period and those allowed to function also could not function to their capacity"

Para 34 " Some of the industries and establishments may bear the financial burden of payment of wages or substantial wages during the lockdown period to its workers and employees. Some of them may not be able to bear the entire burden........"

Para 35 " ...........The State is also under obligation to ensure that there is smooth running of industrial establishment and the disputes between the employers and employees may be conciliated and sorted out."

In para 37 the Hon;ble Supreme Court passed the following interim measures::

"We thus direct following interim measures which can be availed by all the private establishment, industries, factories and workers Trade Unions/ Employees Associations etc. which may be facilitated by the State Authorities: - 

 i) The private establishment, industries, employers who are willing to enter into negotiation and settlement with the workers/employees regarding payment of wages for 50 days or for any other period as applicable in any particular State during which their industrial establishment was closed down due to lockdown, may initiate a process of negotiation with their employees organization and enter into a settlement with them and if they are unable to settle by themselves submit a request to concerned labour authorities who are entrusted with the obligation under the different statute to conciliate the dispute between the parties who on receiving such request, may call the concerned Employees Trade Union/workers Association/ workers to appear on a date for negotiation, conciliation and settlement. In event a settlement is arrived at, that may be acted upon by the employers and workers irrespective of the order dated 29.03.2020 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs.
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 ii) Those employers’ establishments, industries, factories which were working during the lockdown period although not to their capacity can also take steps as indicated in direction No.(i).
 
iii) The private establishments, industries, factories shall permit the workers/employees to work in their establishment who are willing to work which may be without prejudice to rights of the workers/employees regarding unpaid wages of above 50 days. The private establishments, factories who proceed to take steps as per directions (i) and (ii) shall publicise and communicate about their such steps to workers and employees for their response/participation. The settlement, if any, as indicated above shall be without prejudice to the rights of employers and employees which is pending adjudication in these writ petitions.

 iv) The Central Government, all the States/UTs through their Ministry of Labour shall circulate 28 and publicise this order for the benefit of all private establishment, employers, factories and workers/employees.
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Copy of the Judgment is atrtached      

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