The Central Advisory Board under the Minimum Wages Act held a meeting chaired by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Thursday to look afresh into the matter of minimum wage calculation. The board constitutes of the central government nominated persons representing employers and employees, industry stakeholders and trade unions.

The three-unit formula to fix the minimum wages currently counts only 4 members of a family i.e husband, wife and two children. However, there are parents living with their children who do not earn or are retired and so are dependent on them. This formula certainly doesn’t count them.

To look into the matter, the Labour ministry formed a committee on Thursday to amend the formula if needed, after keeping in mind the cost to maintain a decent living standard and also the number of average members in a family.

Dattatreya after the meeting said, “Taking into all the consideration, we have decided to constitute the committee that will look into minimum wage fixation. The employers have no objection to this as there is a need for a minimum living standard in the present day.”

The Central Advisory Board that look into the policy making for the minimum wages had not met in the last 7 years. The Labour Secretary M Sathiyavathy said that they do recognize the need to contemplate on better implementation of the policy and to rationalize the calculation of minimum wage.

The minimum wage differs from state to state, in Delhi the minimum wage for an unskilled worker has been Rs 9,724 per month for a long time. The government has recently decided to increase it to Rs 13,350.

Similarly, for semi-skilled and skilled persons it has been increased from Rs 10, 764 to Rs 14, 698 and from Rs 11,830 to Rs 16, 182 per month, respectively.

The Labour secretary added, “At the moment, there is no mandatory minimum wage that we can give. Some of the states have fixed minimum wages that are less than what we have advised. We can only have an advisory floor level minimum wage fixation but some of the states are even giving less than that.”

The three unit formula currently gives the husband a full unit, wife 0.8 unit, and 0.6 units for each of the two children. In 2010, the Supreme Court said that the dependent parents are to be taken care of by children, and therefore two more units need to be added.



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