The Indian Constitution has defined a ‘living wage’ that is the level of income for a worker which will ensure a basic standard of living including good health, dignity, comfort, education and provide for any contingency. However, to keep in mind an industry’s capacity to pay the constitution has defined a “fair wage”. Fair wage is that level of wage that not just maintains a level of employment, but seeks to increase it keeping in perspective the industry’s capacity to pay. A Minimum Wage is such a wage that it not only guarantees bare subsistence and preserves efficiency but also provides for education, medical requirements and some level of comfort.
The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 was enacted to safeguard the interests of workers, mostly in the unorganized sector by providing for the fixation of minimum wages in certain specified employments. It binds the employers to pay their workers the minimum wages fixed under the Act from time to time.
Fixing of minimum rates of wages.- The State Government shall fix the minimum rates of wages payable to employees employed in an employment and review at such intervals as it may think fit.
Payment of minimum rates of wages:
In respect of any employment, the employer shall pay to every employee engaged in employment under him wages at a rate not less than the minimum rate of wages fixed for that class of employees in that employment without any deductions except as may be authorized.