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Minimum Wages Act 1948






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Minimum Wages Act 1948

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Minimum Wages Act 1948


We all are aware of the fact that India, being a developing country is devoid of employment. Many of them are in search of jobs and are lacking a source of income. And may are among those who are employed yet are exploited by their employers. To allow worker/employees to have a source of income and to save them from being exploited the Minimum Wages Act 1948 has been established and enacted by the Central Legislative Assembly.

The Minimum Wages Act is here to provide a fixed minimum wage rate which is really an appreciated approach that Government has taken up to fix the minimum wage rate and revise the minimum wage rate at the interval of every five years. Not only this, but the government is empowered to appoint an advisory committee to provide a justified representation of the employers as well employees.

Let us go in dept knowledge to get a better clarity about The Minimum Wages Act, 1948. But before that it is important to go through the definition of the term “wages” as defined under the Minimum Wages Act.

The term “wages” is defined in Section 2 of the Minimum Wages Act which states: –

“wages” means every kind of remuneration that is capable of being expressed in terms of money which would if terms of the contract of employment express or implied, we fulfilled, be payable to a person employed in respect of his employment or of work done in such employment and include house rent allowance (HRA) but excludes: –

  • Any house accommodation, supply of light, water medical attendance or;
  • Any other amenity or any service excluded by general or special order of the appropriate Government;
  • Any contribution paid by the employer to any Pension Fund or Provident Fund or under any scheme of social insurance;
  • any travelling allowance or the value of any travelling concession;
  • any sum paid to the person employed to defray special expenses entailed on him by the nature of his employment; or
  • any gratuity payable on discharge.


The Minimum Wages Act 1948 is extended to whole of India and is introduced to provide a fixed minimum wage rate for certain employment. Except Jammu and Kashmir, it is applicable all over India. For every employment that has employed more than 100 employees in a state is compulsorily required to adopt the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act 1948. Also, if any undertaking is owned by the Central Government then there is no need to comply with the wage act.

The purpose or we can say the main objective for which this act came into existence was: –

  • To ensure that employees are having all the basic essential commodities
  • To allow all the employees working dedicatedly to be in good health and comfort
  • To stop the employees from being exploited
  • To provide minimum wages to workers in the organised sector (scheduled employment)
  • To ensure that employees are living a balanced life standard that includes social support as well
  • To ensure a secure and adequate living wage for all the labours in the interest of public


The minimum rate of wage as declared by the appropriate Government in case of scheduled employment consist of: –

  1. a basic rate of wages and a special allowance at a rate to be adjusted at such intervals with the variation in the cost of living index number;
  2. a basic rate of wages with or without the cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concession in respect of supplies of essential commodities at concessional rates;
  • an all-inclusive rate allowing for the basic rate, the cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concession if any.

The cost of living allowance and the cash value of the concessions in respect of supplies of essential commodities at concessional rate shall be computed by the competent authority at such intervals and as specified by the appropriate government.


 In case of schedule employment, the employer shall pay to every employee engaged in scheduled employment, wages at a rate not less than the minimum rates of wages fixed by the official notification for that class of employees in that employment.

NOTE: It is to be noted that, nothing contained in this section shall affect the provision of the Payment of Wages Act 1936.


For fixing the wages, the Central Government may fix: –

  1. a minimum rate of wages for time work (minimum time rate)
  2. a minimum rate of wages for piece work (minimum piece work)
  3. a minimum rate of remuneration to apply in the case of employees employed on piece work for the purpose of securing to such employees a minimum rate of wages on a time work basis (guaranteed time rate)
  4. a minimum rate may it be time work or piece work, to apply in substitution for the minimum rate which would otherwise be applicable in respect of overtime work done by employees (overtime rate)


Where the employer does not comply with the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act 1948 then, the provision of penalty shall be applicable on him. The employer who pay less than the minimum rate of wages shall be liable to imprisonment of up to 6 months or with fine up to Rs. 500. And where the employer contravenes the provision pertaining to fixing hours for normal working day then, imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs. 500 shall be applicable.

Under the Minimum Wages Act, there is also a provision of general provision for punishment of other offences which states, if an employer has done a wrongful act that is not appropriate in the eyes of law and also no penalty is provided for it, then for that particular punishment he or she shall be charged with a fine which may extend to Rs. 500.


As per Section 18 of the Minimum Wages Act 1948, there is a necessity to maintain some registers and records. Here is everything regarding the compliance of registers and records.

To begin with, a register is required to be maintained by the employer containing particulars of employees employed by him, the work performed by him, the wages paid, the receipt given by them and other information as may be prescribed.

In addition to it, the employer shall be regularly displaying in the factory, workshop or place where employee is working or in case of out workers, at the place of out-work given, a notice in the prescribed form containing prescribed particulars.

Furthermore, the appropriate Government may, by rules made under this Act, provide for the issue of wage books or wage slips to employees employed in any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rate of wages have been fixed and prescribe the manner is which shall be made and authenticated in such wage books or wage slips by the employer or his agent.


  1. To the employees who are employed in the railway premises, factory or industry, being less than 1000 employees/workers, must be provided with wages before the expiry of the seventh day from the month.
  2. Documents to be maintained under Labour Law are:-
    As per Minimum Wages Act:-
  • Payment of Minimum Wages
  • Payment of Minimum Wages to contract workmen
  • Abstract
  • Inspection book

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Minimum Wages Act 1948

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Minimum Wages Act 1948

As per the Labour Law, for Delhi the minimum wage for unskilled employees is Rs. 596/- and for semi skilled Rs. 657 and for skilled employees, it is Rs. 723/-.

The wage law of the Minimum Wage Act 1948 specifies generally the minimum wage rate on a per day basis. It is extended to whole of India and also it is revised within a period of not less than five years.

The Minimum Wages Act 1948 is not binding by the law but considered as a statutory compliance.


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