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Introduction

Remuneration means the basic wage/salary, and any additional emoluments payable, either in cash or in-kind, to a person employed in respect of employment if the terms of the contract of employment, express or implied, were fulfilled. The chief motive of the Equal Remuneration Act 1976 is to provide for payment of remuneration to men and women on a uniform basis. In order to avoid discrimination against women and to treat the women in a fair and just manner, this act is brought into force.

Various provisions of the Act

Every employer covered under this act shall pay the employees remuneration in cash/kind at a rate which shall not be less favourable to the other gender if the work is the same or of similar nature. 

Same work or work of similar nature would mean if the work is performed under similar conditions either by a man or woman it would require the same skill, effort and responsibility. If there are any differences in the skill, effort and responsibility required from a man when compared to a woman the same is not important to the employment.

  1. No employer shall be allowed to reduce the remuneration of any worker in order to comply with the provisions of this act.
  2. In case the remuneration payable before the commencement of this act was different due to discrimination then going forward the higher(in case of two rates) or highest(in case of more than two rates) rate shall be payable. However the same shall not apply to the remuneration payable for the services rendered before the commencement of the act
  3. While employees are recruited for work which is the same or of similar nature no discrimination shall be directed towards women unless any law prohibits the same. This provision is also extended to activities after recruitment i.e promotion, training or transfer. The reservations made towards Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, ex-servicemen, retrenched employees or any other class or category of persons will not be affected by this provision.
  4. An advisory committee shall be formed which shall consist of 10 members half of which shall be women and the committee shall focus on providing its advice for increasing the employment opportunities for women, hours of work, nature of work and such other matters.
  5. Every employer is required to maintain registers and other documents in relation to the workers employed by him.
  6. The appropriate government shall appoint inspectors for the purpose of investigation of compliance with the provisions of this act. 
  7. The Inspector shall have the power:
  • To enter any building/premises/factory/vessel
  • Require the production of documents
  • Take evidence from any person to confirm compliance of the act
  • Examine the employer/agent/servant
Offence Penalty
Employer omits/fails to 

-maintain the register

-produce the register and other relevant documents

-give evidence

-give any information

Maximum: Rs 10,000

OR 

Maximum Imprisonment: 1 month

OR

Both

Employer makes 

-any recruitment in contravention of the provisions of this act

-any payment of remuneration at an unequal rate for the same work or  work of similar nature

-any discrimination between a man and a woman

-an omission to carry out the directions made by the appropriate government.

Minimum: Rs 10,000

Maximum: Rs 20,000

OR

Minimum Imprisonment:3 months

Maximum Imprisonment:1 year

OR 

Both
Note: The maximum period of 1 year shall be replaced by 2 years for the 2nd,3rd and 4th offence.

Failure to produce the register or any other document or to give any information to the Inspector Maximum: Rs 500 

Claims and Complaints

  • The Central Government shall appoint officers above the rank of a Labour officer for hearing and deciding complaints regarding contravention of any provision and non-payment of wages at an equal rate. The officer’s powers shall also include solving the ambiguity whether two works are of the same nature or of similar nature.
  • The complaint shall be made in a prescribed manner and the officer shall have the powers of a Civil Court.
  • The authority appointed shall give the employer an opportunity of being heard and may pass orders as below:

– In case of contravention of any provision-Adequate steps to be taken by the employer to ensure there is no contravention

-In case of non-payment of wages at an equal rate- Direct the employer to pay the difference between wages payable and wages paid

  • The employer/worker can file an appeal to such authority as may be prescribed by the appropriate government within 30 days from the date of the order and such authority shall either confirm/modify/reverse the order appealed.

*The time period of 30 days can be extended to 60 days if the authority is satisfied that the appellant was prevented from filing the same.  

  • The order passed thereof shall be the final one and cannot be further subject to any appeal.
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