Wages may be defined as the remuneration paid to the employee in respect of the work done in the course of his employment according to the terms of the contract of employment. There are two significant legislations regarding Wages – The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and The Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 was enacted to regulate payment of wages to workers employed in Industries and to ensure a speedy and effective remedy to them against illegal deductions and/or unjustified delay caused in paying wages to them. The existing wage ceiling under Payment of Wages Act, 1936, was fixed at Rs. 1600/- pm in 1982. With a view to enhance the wage ceiling to Rs. 6500/- p.m. for applicability of the Act, to empower the Central Government to further increase the ceiling in future by way of notification and to enhance the penal provisions etc., the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Act, 2005 was passed by both Houses of Parliament. The Act applies to workers employed in any factory or in a railway administration either directly or indirectly. Under the provisions of this Act the State governments are empowered to execute the provisions of the Act to cover all workers employed in any industrial establishment. The objective behind the legislation of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 was to prevent gross exploitation of the labour community by fixing minimum wages for the labour in the industries mentioned in the Schedule of the Act.