Minimum wage unpaid: TN Labour dept gets 400 complaints in 7 months

In the last seven months, the department of labour has received around 400 complaints from domestic workers in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur districts alleging that they were not paid minimum wages fixed by the government.
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Based on recommendations of a panel headed by Coimbatore deputy commissioner of labour, the department had last year fixed the minimum wages of domestic workers at Rs 37 an hour. It was also said that employers found violating the norms could land in jail.

P Kalai, a domestic worker at Kodambakkam, said she was refused the prescribed wage because her employer felt she did not ‘deserve’ it. “I used to be paid Rs 1,000 a month for putting in two hours of work everyday. When I asked my employer to pay me the prescribed amount she said it was too much for an uneducated person like me,” she said.Image result for Minimum wage unpaid

The state had fixed Rs 37 an hour as the minimum hourly wage for ‘unskilled’ domestic workers involved in sweeping, mopping and washing utensils. It had also fixed Rs 39 and Rs 38 for skilled workers like home nurses and semi-skilled workers like cooks and gardeners. The rate for an entire day’s work (eight hours) for unskilled workers was fixed at a minimum of Rs 6,836 a month and for skilled, it was Rs 8,051 a month. Those who reside with their employers were eligible for wages 10% higher.

“We are not aware” is the common refrain of employers during any intervention made, officials from the state labour department claimed. “Almost all have hiked the amount after our intervention,” said the official. Though the department has not taken any stringent action against violators so far, it has conducted awareness programmes on the new minimum wage across the state. “Because this is the need of the hour. But if employers continue to violate the rules after this, we will take strict action,” the official said.

“Not only employers, even most domestic workers in the city do not know about the new wage,” said Josephine Valarmathi of National Domestic Workers’ Movement.

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