Equal Remuneration Act
Women employment form an integral part for the development and growth of the nation. It is essential to ensure that there is no discrimination for the hiring and paying of wages as par with other gender for women. Although the practice is prevalent and wide across various industries and sectors in the industries worldwide.
Importance of Equality is defined in Constitution of India in Section 39(d) The state shall, in particular, directs its policy towards securing – that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women. Also Article 16 declared that there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in the matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state.
The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 provides for payment of equal remuneration to men and women and help prevent gender discrimination. The objective of this act is to provided for the payment of equal remuneration to the men and women workers and for the prevention of discrimination on the grounds of the sex, against women in the matters of employment and for matters connected therewith or incidental. Also this act ensure that there will be no discrimination against the recruitment of women and provides for setting up of advisory committees to provide employment opportunities for women.
The Act is being implemented by the Central Government in relation to any employment carried on by or under the authority of the Central Government or a railway administration, or in relation to a banking company, a mine, oil field or major port or any corporation established by or under a Central Act. In respect of all employments other than those where the Central Government is the appropriate Government, the implementation rests with the State Governments.
The two important provisions of the act are remuneration and same work or work of a similar nature.
1) Remuneration – Remuneration means the basic wage or salary and any additional emoluments whatsoever payable, either in cash or in kind, to a person employed in respect of employment or work done in such employment, if the terms of the contract of employment, express or implied, were fulfilled.
2) Same work or Work of a similar nature – Same work or Work of a similar nature means work in respect of which the skill, efforts and responsibilities required are the same, when performed under similar working conditions, by a man or a woman and the differences, if any, between the skill, effort and responsibility required of a man and those required of a woman are not of practical importance in relation to the terms and conditions of employment.
Under this act, It is the duty of the employer to pay equal remuneration to men and women workers for same work or work of a similar nature. Sec 4, No employer shall pay to any worker, employed by him in an establishment or employment, remuneration, whether payable in cash or in-kind, at rates less favorable than those at which he pays remuneration to the workers of the opposite sex in such establishment or employment for performing the same work or work of a similar nature.
No Discrimination to be made while recruiting men and women workers, As per section 5, employer while making recruitment for the same work or work of a similar nature, or in any condition of service subsequent to recruitment such as promotions, training or transfer, shall not make any discrimination against women except where the employment of women in such work is prohibited or restricted by or under any law for the time being in force. Provided that the section shall not affect any priority or reservation for scheduled caste or scheduled tribes, ex-servicemen, retrenched employees or any other class or category of persons in the matter of recruitment to the posts in an establishment or employment.
Discrimination in terms of services by Professional and Non-Professional ?
In the case of Dr. C. Girijambal vs Govt. Of Andhra Pradesh on 11 February( 1981 2 SCC 155). The petitioner a women was a non-professional. She filed a petition for equal remuneration along with the male professionals. The High Court of Andhra Pradesh gave the judgment in favor of the petitioner. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the High Court and held that the principle of equal pay for equal work is not applicable in professional services and there is no gender discrimination in paying more to a professional than a non-professional.
Offences by companies:
Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company, for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
Penalties: If after the commencement of this Act, any employer, being required by or under this act, so to do; (a) omits or fails to maintain any register or other document in relation to workers employed by him. (b) omits or fails to produce any register, muster-roll or other document relating to the employment of workers. (c) omits or refuses to gives any evidence or prevents his agent, servant, or any other person in charge of the establishment, or any worker, from giving evidence. (d) omits or refuses to give any information.
He shall be punishable 3 with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.
Also Read: Validity of POSH Act at Remote Workspace.