Coronavirus in India: Government takes U-turn in asking businesses to pay wages to their employees during lockdown

The government has invoked the directive that made it mandatory for companies to pay wages to their employees during the lockdown period. So, the companies that are closed where the workers are not working during the current lockdown do not necessarily have to pay their wages.

The new order of the home ministry nullifies the March order that asked employers to pay wages to employees even though employees are not at the workplace.

The home ministry stated all orders issued by the NEC (national executive committee) under Section 10(2)(I) of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, shall cease to have effect from May 18, 2020. While the order has mentioned various guidelines related to the lockdown, there is nothing related to wages mentioned in the order.

Industry bodies and their federations have been demanding a package to pay the wages of their employees.

Looks like post this omission of the wages in the order, the verdict of the Supreme Court to take action against companies that are not paying wages will be void. During the economic package announcement, the industry was hoping the government would announce a special package to help pay wages to their employees.

The March 29 order that was withdrawn by the central government stated all the employers — be it in the shops and commercial establishment — shall make payment of wages of their workers, at their workplace, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishment is under closure during the lockdown.

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