The Industrial Relations Advisers,
Management & Labour Laws Consultants
Room 3, 1st floor, Falaknuma Building, Near The Laboratory & Haroon Radio, Abdullah Haroon Road, Karachi
Phone: 2727266 & 2729770 Fax: 2729770 (SM Iqbal) Cell: 0333-2314892 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AMENDMENTS IN THE W.P. MINIMUM WAGES FOR UNSKILLED
WORKERS ORDINANCE, 1969 PROVIDING RS. 1,500/- P.M.
The Prime Minister had announced a package of various benefits for the workers including the minimum wage of Rs.1,500/- p.m. One item of this announcement is being implemented by amendment in the above mentioned Ordinance and the West Pakistan Minimum Wages for Unskilled Workers (Amendment) Act, 1993 has been passed by both the houses of the Parliament and with the assent of the President, it has become the law. The salient features and its implications are explained below.
The misnomer of "West Pakistan" now in the Act could have been removed by amending it to "Pakistan".
In the above Ordinance, "Explanation" given in its Section 3 has been substituted by a new Explanation where in its sub-clause (i) the month means the same 26 days normal working period calculated on the basis of 48 hours of work per week. In its sub-clause (ii) the Wages has been explained to include various amounts of Cost of living allowances admissible under the Employees Cost of Living (Relief) Act, 1973 and Dearness Allowance and Special Allowances announced by the Government from time to time before this Amendment Act, 1993. It may be noted that some of the dearness allowances/special allowances announced by the Provincial Governments do not form part of wages for the purposes of any other law but the same are to be treated as part of wages only for the purposes of this law.
This explanation of wages has to be read with the definition of wages given in Section 2(g) of the Ordinance as has been amended now and both read together, "Wages" means basic wages, any dearness allowance, house rent, conveyance allowance, any other fixed allowance, various Cost of living allowances given under the Employees Cost of Living (Relief) Act, 1973, dearness allowance and special allowances announced by the Provincial Government so far but the same does not include traveling allowance, gratuity and bonus. Please note that the basic wages and all the said allowance taken together should make a total/gross of Rs.1,500/- p.m. but these allowances are not merged with the basic wage and shall continue to remain separate as before where so paid.
The "Schedule" given at the end of the Ordinance has been substituted by a new Schedule according to which the minimum wages for the unskilled workers for the commercial and industrial establishments in all the areas have been fixed at the rate of Rs.1,500/- p.m. based on normal 26 days working in a month and 48 hours of work per week. Deduction for providing housing accommodation in Karachi Districts, Industrial Areas and other Areas have been allowed at Rs. 25/- p.m., Rs. 20/- p.m. and Rs. 13/- p.m. respectively and for providing transport at Rs. 10/- p.m., Rs. 5/- p.m. and Rs. 2/- p.m. respectively. These adjustments/deductions for providing both these facilities by the employers are not realistic but too low.
"Industrial Area" means the districts of Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Lahore, Multan, Sheikhupura, Kotri Taluka in Dadu Dist. and any other area declared and notified by the Govt.
The above wages are the minimum wages. If the minimum wages for the unskilled workers in any commercial or industrial establishment is more than the minimum wage now fixed at Rs. 1,500/- p.m., the same shall continue and cannot be reduced. This minimum wage is now the starting minimum wage for the unskilled workers. Future increases, annual increments, increases under settlements etc. which may be made in future would be in addition and over and above this minimum wage. Apprentices are not included as unskilled workers who are governed by the Apprenticeship Ordinance, 1962.
This minimum wage for unskilled workers is for all unskilled workers whether they are permanent, temporary, Badli, monthly rated, piece rated or daily wage rated. For daily wage rate, the daily wage may be arrived at by dividing 1500 by 26. Normally piece rated workers are above the unskilled workers except certain manual labour on piece rate such as loading and unloading of goods and in such a case the piece rate for unskilled workers be so fixed that such a worker gets normally Rs. 1,500/- p.m. wages.
When a law is amended the amendments are to be incorporated and read in the main law. All other provisions of the law not amended remain the same and unchanged. Similarly the amendments explained above have to be read with the other provisions of the Ordinance and not in isolation. All other provisions of the Ordinance not amended continue to apply as before. Please note that the Ordinance became applicable on commercial and industrial establishments where 50 or more persons were or are employed on any day during the last 12 months when it came in 1969 and thereafter whenever this condition is met by any establishment.
The above rate is the minimum wage rate fixed for the unskilled workers only. There may be semi-skilled, skilled, and highly skilled workers in the establishments. It is but natural that the management of its own will have to keep wage differential for these higher categories of workers appropriately at higher rates than the new minimum wage of Rs. 1,500/- p.m. for the unskilled workers, otherwise it may create unrest and dissatisfaction among the higher categories of the workers and the unskilled workers may not accept promotions to the higher categories to share greater responsibilities, if the wage difference in the higher categories is not attractive.
The above may be carefully and understood. In case of any doubt, please feel free to consult.
(S. M. Yaqoob & S. M. Iqbal)
Industrial Relations Advisers &
Labour Laws Consultants