Deduction of 8 Days Wages for Strike under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 & Procedure Thereof

Section 9 of The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 states as follows –

“(1) Deductions may be made under clause (b) of sub-section (2) of section 7 only on account of the absence of an employed person from the place or places where by the terms of his employment, he is required to work, such absence being for the whole or any part of the period during which he is so required to work.

(2) The amount of such deduction shall in no case bear to the wages payable to the employed person in respect of the wage-period for which the deduction is made in a larger proportion than the period for which he was absent bears to the total period within such wage-period during which by the terms of his employments he was required to work:

Provided that subject to any rules made in this behalf by the State Government if ten or more employed persons acting in concert absent themselves without due notice (that is to say without giving the notice which is required under the terms of their contracts of employment) and without reasonable cause such deduction from any such person may include such amount not exceeding his wages for eight days as may by any such terms be due to the employer in lieu of due notice.

Explanation: For the purposes of this section an employed person shall be deemed to be absent from the place where he is required to work if although present in such place he refuses in pursuance of a stay-in strike or for any other cause which is not reasonable in the circumstances to carry out his work.”

Every State has separate Rules of procedure for such deductions. Likewise, in Maharashtra the procedure for making such deductions is laid down under relevant provisions of The Maharashtra Payment of Wages Rules, 1963

Rule 17(2) (a) of The Maharashtra Payment of Wages Rules, 1963 (‘Deductions for absence from duty’) states that –

“No deduction for absence from duty shall be made from the wages of any employed person unless there is provision in writing forming part of the terms of the contract of employment requiring him to give notice of the termination of his employment and –

(i) The period of such notice does not exceed fifteen days or the wage period, whichever is less; and

(ii) The period of such notice does not exceed such period of notice which the employer is required to give of the termination of that employment;”

Rule 17 (2) (b) of The Maharashtra Payment of Wages Rules, 1963 states that –

“No deduction for absence from duty shall be made from the wages of any employed person unless –

This rule has been displayed in English, in the language of the majority of the employed persons at or near the main entrance of the factory or of industrial establishment, as the case may be, and has been so displayed for not less than one month before the commencement of the absence in respect of which the deduction is made…”

Rule 17 (2) (c) of The Maharashtra Payment of Wages Rules, 1963 states that –

“No deduction for absence from duty shall be made from the wages of any employed person unless –

A notice has been displayed at or near the main entrance of the factory or of the industrial establishment; as the case may be, giving the names of the persons from whom the deduction is proposed to be made, the number of day’s wages to be deducted and the conditions (if any) on which the deduction shall be remitted:”

The following can be observed from the above provisions –

  • As per proviso to Section 9(2), in the event 10 or more employed persons, acting together, are absent from duty unauthorizedly and/or without reasonable cause, up to 8 day’s wages may be deducted from their wages.
  • Provisions under Rule 17 must be displayed at a conspicuous location in English or in a language majority of the workmen speak at least one month before the absence takes place.
  • A notice must be displayed at or near the entrance of the factory, containing details such as names of persons whose wages shall be deducted, number of day’s wages to be deducted and conditions (if any) on which the deduction shall be remitted.

Further, in General Manager, India Cements Ltd. V/s Subramanian N.S., 1997, the Hon’ble Madras High Court held that deduction of wages for unauthorized absence, as per the provisions under Section 9(2) of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 must be carried out as per procedure laid down in corresponding State Rules. Further, the Madras High Court held that strict and not substantial compliance of such provisions must be carried out.

In view of the above provisions of law, if an employer wishes to deduct wages of the employees, the employer shall have to put up a notice on the Notice Board. However, since it is mandatory to give a notice, the employees may approach the Court for a stay order. Therefore, keeping a watch on the Courts is essential.

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