NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha today passed a bill allowing doubling of wage ceiling for calculating bonus to Rs 7,000 per month for factory workers with establishments with 20 or more workers, with the benefits being applicable retrospectively from April 2014.
The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015, was passed by a voice vote, with some members objecting to the raising of eligibility limit for payment of bonus from a salary of Rs 10,000 per month to Rs 21,000. Replying to a debate on the legislation, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the Government has ensured that the interest of workers are protected and there is no infringement on their rights.
"Because of Bihar Elections this bill got delayed... The Prime Minister spoke to me and asked why should the benefits of this Act should accrue to workers from 2015. It should be made available from the April 2014," he said while moving an official amendment to the Bill.
The official amendment provides that the benefits of the Act would be deemed to have come into force on April 1, 2014, instead of April 1, 2015. Dattatreya said the Ministry has held 21 tripartite meetings with all central trade unions while arriving at a decision. The Bill provides for enhancing monthly bonus calculation ceiling to Rs 7,000 per month from the existing Rs 3,500. It also seeks to enhance the eligibility limit for payment of bonus from Rs 10,000 per month to Rs 21,000 per month.
"The Government's paramount intention is to safeguard the interest of workers... There is no infringement of workers' rights and whatever the government does will be in the interest of workers," Dattatreya said.
After the bill was passed, Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, who was in the Chair, said the government should be congratulated for bringing the measure as also for effecting the benefits retrospectively.