Anticipated National Minimum Wage Hike Nears Implementation Ahead of Elections/Mint
Anticipated National Minimum Wage Hike Nears Implementation Ahead of Elections
The central government is reportedly considering the adoption of recommendations from a high-level expert panel, led by SP Mukherjee since 2021, which could result in a mandatory national minimum wage increase, as reported by The Economic Times. Officials suggest that the proposed floor wage might be enforced before the upcoming general elections scheduled for April-May this year.
The expert committee, established for a three-year term until June 2024, is on the verge of submitting its report, with sources indicating that the finalization is imminent after one last round of meetings. With approximately 500 million workers, 90 percent of whom are in the unorganized sector, the current floor wage is ₹176 per day, last revised in 2017 and not binding for states. Officials argue that a revision is overdue to address the rising cost of living and inflation.
If implemented, the new minimum wage would be mandatory across states, empowered by the Code on Wages, 2019, granting the central government authority to establish the floor wage based on a worker’s minimum living standards.
In 2019, a committee led by Anoop Satpathy proposed a floor wage of ₹375 per day, which was rejected by the government due to substantial financial implications for employers. Stakeholders are hopeful that the current committee will strike a balance between the existing ₹176 per day and the previous ₹375 per day recommendation.
An employers’ representative involved in the discussions expressed optimism that the committee would arrive at a balanced wage to minimize financial implications on employers and governments. The committee is expected to consider inflation and household expenditure costs in determining the new floor wage, accounting for nutritional and non-food requirements.
The Code on Wages, 2019, grants the government the authority to set different floor wages for various geographical areas, aiming to address existing disparities in minimum wages among states. This move aims to ensure fair wages and reduce discrepancies impacting the movement of migrant laborers within the country.