Background: The Equal Remuneration Act of 1976 was implemented in order to erase the gender inequality that persisted in the Indian society in workplace and in terms of salary. Vakilsearch in their previous article shared the laws in India for a media company. In this article they share the rules and regulations of the Equal Remuneration Act.
After 1947, India became independent but not completely. Although there were no rulers, inequality still persisted in terms of getting equal positions and rights in society. Along with caste differences, gender inequality has been a major issue. Women have always had to fight for equal rights and equal status in society. Due to this inequality, women hesitated to work and get into professional careers. But, over time, women started getting equal status. And so, in order to remove discrimination against women, the act named the Equal Remuneration Act was implemented in the year 1976.
Remuneration basically means wages or salaries. Under the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 payment of equal remuneration is done to both men and women, to prevent discrimination against women and to ensure that they are treated equally and in a fair method.
This act was enforced by the Central Industrial Relations Machinery (CIRM).
According to this act, the main provisions are as follows
- No employer is allowed to pay unequal remuneration to men or women working in the same position and similar capabilities. Also, the employer is not allowed to reduce the wages in order to comply with the provisions of the act.
- No employer can make any discrimination between men or women during the recruiting process, even in the case of the transfer and training process, until and unless the task is prohibited for women. The reservations made for SC, ST and others would not be affected in any way by these provisions.
- It is mandatory for every employer to maintain a register of all the workers hired by them along with the other documents according to the provisions of the act.
- An advisory committee is formed which consists of 10 members, half of which must be women. This committee focuses on providing work opportunities for women, work hours, etc.
- The government appoints inspectors for the proper investigation of the implementation of the act. The inspector has the power to enter any building/factory,etc., and take evidence and documents from the employer for proper implementation of the act.
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In case of not following the equal remuneration act, and breaking the rules, there are various punishments and penalties which the employer will have to bear based on the offence
- When the employer fails to maintain the register, updated documents, evidence or provide any information, the penalty is maximum INR 10,000 or imprisonment of 1 month.
- When the employer makes recruitment at unequal remuneration or discriminates of gender basis, the penalty is between INR 10,000 – 20,000, or the imprisonment is between 3 months to a year.
- If the employer fails to provide the register or other information when asked by the inspector, the penalty is maximum INR 500.
Claims and Complaints
- The central government appoints officers above the rank of labour officer in order to hear and decide on the complaints of the prohibition on the Equal Remuneration Act.
- The complaints are supposed to be made in a particular manner, and these officers have the power of a civil court.
- In order to prevent the violation of any of the provisions of the act, the employer must follow and adhere to the rules.
- In the case of non-payment of the wages or unequal rates, the employer/worker has complete rights to complain or appeal to the authorities. After the filing of the complaint, a time period of 30 days is taken, and the required orders are passed. Once the orders are passed, they will be final and no changes will be made. They cannot be further subjected to any appeal.
Equal remuneration was without any doubt a great initiative taken by the Government towards an important issue of gender equality.
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Having equal pay helps women in several ways, some of which include
- Improves employee morale: It helps the women feel good about coming to work as they are given equal status and respect like the opposite gender.
- Improves employee retention: It helps the employees remain competitive, showcasing their talents and skills at the level best.
- Attracts a higher number of talented applicants: If the women are paid equally, the company is sure to benefit as there will be a higher number of applicants who would want to apply only on the basis of their skills and abilities without hesitation.
- Pay equity consideration: Any person applying for a job or a post, must only consider the wage difference based on the post and level in the job and not on the basis of gender.
As to conclude, the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, was a great initiative due to which nowadays, many women are found in the corporate and working sector. Along with that, it has provided a different perspective and confidence in women in terms of their working capabilities.
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