Circular No. ES/201/2020-21 13th June, 2020
To: Members of the Council
Sub: Supreme Court Order on the payment of wages during the lockdown period –
Ministry of Home Affairs Order
As you are aware, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 29th March 2020 on account of lockdown due to COVID-19 directing all establishments to pay wages without any deduction for all categories of employees. However, this order was revoked w.e.f. 17th May 2020.
The above Order was challenged before the Supreme Court of India by some of the industries. The Supreme Court during the hearing on 5th May 2020 passed an interim order that no coercive action should be taken against the employers for not following the said order of MHA.
With regard to the above, the Supreme Court passed an Order on 12th June, 2020 directing both the employers and employees to negotiate and settle among themselves regardless of the MHA Order issued on 29th March 2020, since no industry can survive without the workers. If they are not able to settle it among themselves, they may approach the concerned labour authorities, to sort out the issues.
The Bench of the Apex Court also passed the following directions:-
Date for conciliation settlement may be effected by MHA;
Directions for participation of employees for effectuating the settlement may be publicized for the benefit of all employers and the workers. The State Government shall facilitate such settlement and negotiate the process for the same and submit reports before the concerned labour commissioners;
Workers who are willing to work should be allowed to work notwithstanding the dispute regarding wages.
Further, the Supreme Court gave direction again stating that no coercive action shall be taken against the employers on the basis of MHA Order dated 29th March 2020. Also, it has directed the Central Government to file a detailed affidavit during the last week of July, 2020.
Members may kindly make a note of the above.