Srinagar, Dec 08: In response to growing concerns about potential exploitation and underpayment of contractual workers engaged through outsourcing agencies, the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India, has taken decisive steps to safeguard the rights and interests of such workers.
The circular issued by Santosh D. Vaidya, Principal Secretary to the Government, Finance Department, Jammu and Kashmir, highlighted the alarming issue of unauthorized wage deductions by outsourcing agencies, delayed monthly payments to workers, and the failure to deposit Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) contributions.
“To address these challenges, the GOI has incorporated stringent statutory obligations in the contracts for hiring manpower through outsourcing agencies on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal,” it said.
It says that outsourcing agencies must ensure timely contributions to EPF and ESIC for the welfare of the contractual workers, service providers and contractors are obligated to pay wages to contract labor at rates not less than the minimum wages specified by the Appropriate Government.
“Prohibiting any unauthorized deductions from the wages of contract labour, ensuring fair and transparent compensation. Adherence to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, ensuring that wages are paid on time. In case of default, the principal employer/buyer assumes responsibility for direct payment to the workers,” reads that circular.
The service provider/contractor is responsible for paying bonuses to contract labor in accordance with the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, with reimbursement from the buyer.
“The service provider/contractor must pay proportionate gratuity to contract labor who have rendered continuous service, complying with the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972,” it said.
The Circular further says that all Administrative Departments are urged to instruct their subordinate offices to incorporate these provisions in contracts for hiring manpower from outsourcing agencies and ensure strict compliance.