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payment of wages as per disaster management act during Lockdown- Legal Opinion

 SHORT NOTE ON LEGAL OPINION

FACTS:

Babloo is working as a production technician in a private factory. Due to National

lockdown, the factory remained closed for 3 months. There has been notification

from the National Disaster Authority that no employee will be treated on leave and

factory owner showed its inability to make the payment.

ISSUE:

Whether factory owner is bound in law to make the payment of his salary in terms

of notification under National Disaster Act.

LEGAL ASPECTS:

The Government of India imposed lockdown under Disaster Management Act,

2005 to take specific measure in case of natural calamities, outbreak of disease or

nature like calamities. The provision invoke by the Government of India is to

provide assistance to the public and protect them getting contacted with disease.

The direction given in Disaster Management Act, 2005 shall be followed by the

public. In case of disobeying any direction, legal action shall be taken against

them.

Government does not mandate the provision for paying salary of the workers or no

deduction in salary or eliminating service of an employee. It is a advisory released

by Government of India on Humanitarian grounds. Government shall mandate this

advisory to the government agencies but private corporation or agencies are not

bound by such advisory.

Government of India also invoke Epidemics Disease act, 1897 in order to curb the

outbreak of disease provide temporary regulation for the public. The inability to

follow the guidelines provided by the Government under Epidemics Disaster act,

1897 arises liability and criminal case shall be register against them,

REMEDY:

There are provision of lay off under Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, if the employer

is unable to provide further employment to its employee. Employer can eliminate


employee services after the payment of compensation along with due wages of the

employee. The compensation shall be equal to 50% of the total of the basic wages.

The provision of lay off contain certain limitation that the cause of suspending

services or employment of the employee only because of natural calamities, in that

case Employer does not required to ask for government permission for suspending

services or employment of an employee. Unemployment benefit shall be provided

to the workers where Government aggregates 25% of wages from last 2 years in

order to take advantage of the scheme. under Employee State Insurance (ESI)

employees get social security benefit, medical benefit, accidental hazard, cash

benefit in case of injury either be accidental or occupational disease. Employer pay

80% of the premium whereas Employee pay rest of the remaining amount in ESI.

Employees can also approach Consumer protection forum against ESI to provide

assistance during calamity.

OPINION:

in my opinion Government should negotiate with private companies to provide

wages to the employees even when no work is done. In another way employees

should approach ESI for there employment insurance fund. As we have seen in

many countries wages has been subsidies for the benefit of the employees. ESI

accommodate Rs 84000 Cr. in multiple banks. This money shall be utilize for the

welfare of the employee and provide financial assistance from ESI funds.

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