Salary cut due to lockdown
Monday 08 March 34657 Shares
New Delhi: The Modi government has asked all public and private companies to ensure that they do not cut salaries of their staff or resort to layoffs of their employees amid the lockdowns imposed to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Secretary of the Labour Ministry, Heeralal Samariya, sent out an advisory, in the form of a letter, in this regard Monday. “The world is facing a catastrophic situation due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and in order to combat this challenge, coordinated joint efforts of all sections of the society is required,” the letter reads.
“In view of the above, there may be incidence(s) that employees’/workers’ services are dispensed with on this pretext or the employee/worker is forced to go on leave without wage/salaries,” it adds.
The government has advised public and private enterprises to not terminate the services or reduce the wages of their employees, particularly casual or contractual workers.
Bid to tackle crisis
As cases of COVID-19 rise in the country, several states have imposed lockdowns, restricting the movement of people even to their workplaces.
The advisory says that if any worker takes a leave, they should be deemed to be on duty without any deduction in wages. Doing so, the government has warned, would deepen the crisis.
“The termination of an employee from the job or reduction in wages in this scenario would further deepen the crises and will not only weaken the financial condition of the employee but also hamper their morale to combat their fight with this epidemic,” Samariya’s letter reads.
“In view of this, you are requested to issue necessary advisory to the employers/owners of all the establishments in the state.”
On March 20, the Labour Ministry issued advisories to the employers’ associations not to terminate their employees (especially precarious workers) and reduce wages for their absences, among others.
In continuation to this several Govt Institutes and University across India viz JNU, DU, IIT, CSIR, IIIT, SAU, NIT'S, IPU, JMH and several others came up with decision to cut May month salary of all employees by 50.
Curiously, the advisory assumes a legal dimension when it says: if the workers take leave during the lockdown period they should be “deemed to be on duty without any consequential deduction in wages…Further if the place of employment is to be made non-operational due to COVID-19, the employees of such unit (sic) will be deemed to be on duty.”
On March 24, the Home Ministry invoked the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 (NDMA) and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (EDA) and clamped a national lockdown for 21 days from March 25. It ordered closures of commercial and private establishments, industrial establishments, all transport services, educational institutions exempting essential services. However, migrant workers, provoked by the absence of work and income and possibly ejections from their residential spaces, began a panic exodus, violating the national lockdown order.