From Agreement to Minimum Wages- Employee Rights You Must Know
From Agreement to Minimum Wages- Employee Rights You Must Know

From Agreement to Minimum Wages- Employee Rights You Must Know

 

Employees are the greatest assets any employer can boast of. A company without a quality crop of employees is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. A renowned human resources expert once described employees as the pillar of any business.

When employees are motivated by their employers, they put in their best to get the job done. The Indian constitution has also guaranteed some rights to the employees which this article will deal extensively on. Therefore, if you are an employee working within the shores of India, this article is for you.

Having the knowledge of these rights will enable you to press home your demand from your employer. In addition, once an employer breaches your right, you can sue such an employer for damages in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Without further ado, let’s now discuss the various rights that an Indian employee is entitled to.

 

  • WRITTEN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT

An employment agreement is a document detailing an employee’s contract with an employer. Before any prospective employee begins a job, he/she must enter into an employment contract with an employer. The document is actually the basis to form an employee-employer relationship. In addition, the document should capture the following:

  1. Wages
  2. Work hours
  3. Job responsibilities
  4. Job Location
  5. Job Designation
  6. Non-disclosure of the company’s secret
  7. How to resolve disputes

 

The contract of employment is binding on both employer and employee. The employee can sue the employer for a breach of the employment agreement and vice versa.

 

  • MINIMUM WAGES RIGHT

Every country of the world has an amount the lowest employee should earn. That amount is called a minimum wage. In India, the constitution has a provision to protect the minimum wage right of the workers (The Minimum Wage Act). The Act clearly fixes the amount to be paid to employees in a particular employment. The minimum wage is not just any amount, but an amount that can cater for medicals, education, as well as rents.

 

The Minimum wage is not uniform throughout India, although the Central and state governments have the right to fix an amount that it deems fit to her employees whether skilled or unskilled base on the factors below:

  1. Type of work
  2. Region
  3. Hours of work
  4. The cost of living
  5. Employer’s financial capacity to pay

The minimum amount payable across all sectors of the economy is usually notified by the Center in her Gazette. In the event that an Employer pays an amount lower than the minimum wage, the employee reserves the right to file a civil suit in a court of competent jurisdiction for the breach of the Minimum Wage Act.

 

  • SEXUAL HARASSMENT PROTECTION RIGHT

India is one country with a high prevalence rate of sexual harassment. Before employees were guaranteed this right, employers of labour used to take advantage of a hapless female employee by harassing them sexually. The government through the Supreme Court gave a landmark decision which birthed the Sexual Harassment Of Women In the Workplace Act, 2013 in order to curb this ugly trend. Right now, any employer that harasses a female employee is liable to a three-year jail term without the option of fine.

Sexual harassment under the Act includes any of the following:

  1. Advances or physical contact
  2. Demanding for sex before offering help.
  3. Showing Pornography
  4. Any sexual conduct

The reason why women do not like reporting sexual harassments is that they fear they might lose their job, particularly when the offender is the employer or even a senior colleague. However, it shouldn’t stop women from speaking up.

 

  • RIGHT TO OVERTIME AND WORK HOURS

The Factory Act has clearly spelt out the number of hours an adult (above 18 years) should work in a day, which is 9 hours. Conversely, a teen (between 14 and 18) and women should not work more 4.5 hours on a daily basis. In the event that an Employer requests a worker to work more than the stipulated 9 hours, the worker is entitled to overtime pay. Usually, overtime payments are twice the normal pay.

In addition, employees are entitled to at least one hour of lunch during work hours, plus a holiday within the week.

 

  • RIGHT TO RECEIVE PAY FOR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

India has three National memorable public holidays which are:

  1. January 26 (Republic Day)
  2. August 15 (Independence Day)
  3. October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti)

 

During public days, employers are expected to give their employees a leave from work, regardless of the establishment. However, in the event that an Employer wants an employee to work on a public holiday, the employee is entitled to a public holiday allowance. In addition, each state of the country has their regional holiday. Employees are also entitled to public holiday allowance if they work during the regional holidays.

 

  • RIGHT TO ANNUAL LEAVE AND PAYMENT

Every employee has the right to go on annual leave within a financial year. For an adult worker, he/she is entitled to at least 15 days’ vacation with full payment. The number of days is not the same as a young employee. Young employees are entitled to at least 20 days of vacation with pay.

 

Employees can decide to carry the leave over to the following financial year. But it shouldn’t exceed 30 days leave. Else, the employer may not approve the carry over the leave. Please note that employees on annual leave will be paid their full salary and a per cent of their basic salary, which would be determined by the employers.

 

  • PARENTAL AND PREGNANCY LEAVE

India recognizes the need to allow pregnant women avail some weeks in preparation for childbirth and after delivery in line with the Maternity Benefit Act. This right is enjoyed by all female employees regardless of the establishment. In fact, recently, the government increases the maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. The 26 weeks includes 8 weeks of prenatal leave. All female employees on maternity leave are entitled to full payment.

 

In addition, surrogate mothers, adoptive mothers, as well as commissioning mothers also have the right to maternity leave. Although, the number of days varies based on the provision of the Maternity Benefits Act

 

Furthermore, the Central government has also made provision for paid paternal leave and child care leave. However, this particular is peculiar to government employees. Private sector employers are not obliged to grant this right to their employees.

 

  • EQUALITY IN PAYMENT RIGHT

Article 39 (d) clearly canvasses for equality of payment for both male and female employees. Employers are by this law required to pay the same wages for the job done by either a male or female employee. Also, the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 further supports the concept of equality in salary scale for both male and female employees.

 

  • PROBATION RIGHT

An employee whether in the private or public sector would be placed on probation before his/her appointment is confirmed. Usually, the duration of probation is 6 months. After 6 months, the employer has the right to add three additional months. However, probation should not exceed 2 years.

 

An employer reserves the exclusive right to terminate the contract of a worker if his/her performance is not satisfactory. However, the employer must notify the employee via writing before the contract is terminated. The employee may demand to know why his/her contract has been terminated.

 

  • EMPLOYERS REFUSED TO PAY

In the event that an Employer of labour deliberately refuses to pay the wages of his/her employees, the employees reserve the right under the Payment of Wages Act to sue the employer for a breach of the Act. The employees can as well approach the Labour Commissioner for an amicable resolution to the problem.

 

  • RIGHT TO WORK IN A SAFE WORKPLACE

Employees are entitled to a safe working environment. It is the prerogative of the government to ensure that all workplaces or site are safe. The Factories Act has made it clear the areas in which the government needs to regulate. The areas are as follows:

  1. Cleanliness of the workplace
  2. Ventilation and temperature
  3. Waste disposal
  4. Fume and dust
  5. Lighting
  6. Overcrowding
  7. Spittoons
  8. Clean water for drinking
  9. Latrines and toilets

The employers have a duty of training and supervising their staff to ensure compliance with the Factories Act. In addition, employers are expected to make available personal protective equipment such as Boot, Helmet, Google, hand gloves for the safety of their employees.

 

In addition, employees have the right to sue an Employer under the Employees Compensation Act, in the event that the employee sustains Injuries as a result of the employer’s negligence.

 

 

  • RIGHT TO GRATUITY

A gratuity is one of the rights of an employee. It is a lump sum paid to an employee after leaving the employment. The amount to be paid depends on the number of years the employee has worked in the establishment. Employers are expected to fulfil this obligation as it stated in the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972. Under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, an employee is entitled to a gratuity after serving the establishment for a period of 5 years. Gratuity payment is not exempted from tax.

 

Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 clearly states the conditions for an employee to receive a gratuity as follows:

  1. Retirement
  2. Superannuation
  3. Resignation
  4. Disability as a result of sickness or accident
  5. Death (gratuity will be paid to the employees’ next of kin

 

However, if an employee is dismissed from an employment on the grounds of theft, Act of violence, disorderly conduct, lawlessness, and murder etc. The employee would forfeit the gratuity to the establishment.

 

  • EMPLOYEE’S PROVIDENT FUND

This is a scheme established by the Indian government to provide employees on salary with certain benefits. The regulator of the scheme is the Employees Provident Fund Organisation of India. Both employees and the government contribute to the Fund on a monthly basis at 12%. Employees can withdraw 50% of the contribution provided he/she has served the establishment for a period of 7 years. The withdrawal is only three times throughout the duration of the employment.

 

Employees can avail the scheme for the following benefits:

  1. Medical care
  2. Retirement
  3. Children education
  4. Family obligations
  5. Housing
  6. Insurance police finance

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