Payment of Wages during to Covid-19 outbreak lockdown period

Payment of wages during covid19 based on Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court (Bench: Aurangabad) Coram Order dated 30th April 2020

The matter was heard at Bombay High Court (Aurangabad Bench) in the case between Align Components Pvt. Ltd., and another (Petitioners) Vs Union of India & others (Respondents) for challenging the MHA order dated 29th March 2020 by invoking the provision Sec. 10 (2) (1) of DM Act, 2005 with the view of ensuring the monthly payment to the workers/employees including Migrant workmen during this Covid-19 outbreak situation.


The contention of the petitioners that though they were willing to operate their industries as well their workers were willing to perform their work, due to restriction imposed by Govts., the managements have been mandated to reduce/shut down their operations.  At this juncture, though the prayer was to exempt from paying the salary during this lockdown time when the operations were not in, the petitioners are willing to pay 50% of gross wages or min. wages whichever is higher.


The Hon’ble Judge referred the same subject matter which is sub judice now and be listed after 2 weeks based on the passed order dated 27th April 2020 in Supreme Court in the case of Ficus  Pax  Private  Ltd.,  Vs. Union  of  India  and  others and also, referred the Stay order granted by Kerala High court in the matter of deferment of 50% salary by the order of Kerala Finance Ministry, he viewed that do not want to interfere this matter now and he would expect to pay full wages other than conveyance allowance and food allowance if these are being paid month on month basis in the cases if the workers are not required to report for duties.


Also, by the same time the Court clarified that if the workers are expected to work, but voluntarily do not come for work, the management has the liberty to deduct the wages for such absence provided management can initiate the action in accordance with the procedure laid down in the law.


As mentioned in this Coram Order, the matter would be expected to list on 18th May 2020 or when the court is re-opened after that. But as per status of this case in the Court Website is, now listed on 6th May 2020 as a pre-admission stage.


Points of ponder based on the above order:

  • If any allowance is being paid to workers/employees on a contingent basis but not as per the terms of employment contract, maybe get exempted from the salary in the event of no work done by them.
  • If employee/worker is necessitated/required to come for work, but voluntarily absent, the employer can deduct the salary by way of proper disciplinary action.


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Mathu Soodhanan T – CAS (Team Aparajitha)


Disclaimer: “The article represents the opinions of the author and the author is solely responsible for the facts, cases, and legal or otherwise reproduced in the article”

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