Tamil Nadu Govt Sets Rs 37/Hr Minimum Wage For Domestic Helps, 7 Yrs Of Jail For Paying Less
The Logical Indian Crew Tamil Nadu
August 3rd, 2018 / 6:25 PM
Image Credits: Mumbai live
Tamil Nadu government has fixed minimum monthly wages for domestic workers in a recently released notification. The issued notification recognises skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled domestic workers. It is a big step by the state government as a part of Labour Reforms which aimed at setting guidelines for the unorganised sector.
In the notification released, the fixed minimum hourly wages are fixed – Rs 37 for unskilled domestic workers, Rs 39 for skilled workers and Rs 38 for semi-skilled workers. The rates are fixed by considering a day’s chore of eight hours.
The minimum monthly wage for the entire day’s work for unskilled workers has been fixed at Rs 6836, whereas the same for qualified home nurse has been set at Rs 8051. For the workers who stay with their employers, the remuneration is 10% higher.
According to the Times of India, the notification also states that if the employer is already paying higher than the prescribed wages, they shall continue doing it. For one hour work a month the wages must be calculated x 30 days. There should not be any distinction between the wages of a male and a female worker.
Recommendations made by the committee
The notification is based on the recommendations made by an eight-member committee. The Deputy Commissioner of Labour of Coimbatore headed the committee. The committee had meetings with labour inspectors, domestic workers union and employers to understand their needs.
“From January to June last year, we travelled to ten districts and held discussions with domestic workers associations to understand their need. Besides interviews, the team also factored in the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Chennai city in 2015 while fixing the rate,” a member of the committee said while speaking to The Times of India.
Any violation of the notification can land into punishment of up to seven years imprisonment with fine. The employers found guilty of violation can be booked under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Minimum Wages Act, 1948 along with Sections 370 and 374 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Position of Unorganised Sector
The workers in the unorganised sector constitute the major part of the total workforce. As per the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data collected in 2011-2012, out of total estimated employed persons, 82.7 % of the workforce is in the unorganised sector. Most of these workers are from vulnerable communities who do not have proper means of livelihood or those who lack economic opportunities. A large number of domestic labour consists of women and minors. Most of the workers in the unorganised sector are migrants and belong to the lowest strata of the economy. Migration from rural to urban areas is due to debt, poverty, loss of agricultural land. These people are an easy target for exploitation because of their needs and lack of awareness of legal rights.
The unorganised sector lacks proper laws and rights for workers, no minimum wage requirement neither job security. The workers lack awareness about the existing laws made for their protection. Exploitation in the form of low wages, long working hours, inhuman treatment is faced by the workers on a daily basis.
A national policy is needed for the safety of these workers which would ensure their overall well being which includes health, education of their children etc. The Ministry of Labour is working on a policy for domestic workers since last three years. In March 2018, the Minister of State for Labour Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in a written reply to Lok Sabha “Discussions are underway regarding a national policy for domestic workers, including women with the aim to protect the domestic workers from abuse, harassment, violence and guarantee the rights in the matter of social security and minimum wages,” as reported in The Hindu.
The Logical Indian Take
The need of the hour is to cover the workers from unorganised sector under a proper social security system and to set up an institution which looks into their grievances, terms of employment and disputes.
Written by : Santosh Kumari (Intern)
Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi