Draft rules of the Code on Wages invite opposition

The suggestion of extending working hours from 8 to 9 has been criticised.

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The Labour Ministry recently released the draft rules as per Section 67 of the Code on Wages. However, its recommendation of increasing working hours by one hour and giving only one day off in a week has been criticised. The draft rules were revealed on the Ministry’s official website and invited feedback from the public and stakeholders.

According to the rules, a normal working day will comprise nine hours of working, which will not go beyond 12 hours on any day, inclusive of breaks.

With some factories already making their workers put in nine hours every day, these rules will only institutionalise the practice, which, according to the unions, goes against the welfare of the workers.

In addition, the rules also suggest that the house rent should be 10 per cent of the minimum wage, which is quite inadequate considering the increasing migration to urban areas. The calculation of minimum wage is on the basis of three adult consumption units, that is, the working member counts as one unit, while the spouse and two children form two units.

While this is below what was recommended by the internal committee, that is 3.6 units, it is also way lower than what the labour unions have been demanding (that is, six units, including the parents of the worker).

The labour unions that have been opposing these rules maintain that wages should be classified into minimum, fair and living wage. They insist that it is time to start discussing living wage to improve the living standards.

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