Punishment for offences under Minimum Wages Act-1948

The Minimum Wages Act 1948

Wages

“Wages” means all remuneration, capable of being expressed in terms of money, which would, if the terms of the contract of employment, express or implied, were fulfilled, be payable to a person employed in respect of his employment or of work done in such employment [and includes house rent allowance, but does not include-

(i) the value of-

(a) any house accommodation, supply of light, water, medical attendance, or

(b) any other amenity or any service excluded by general or special order of the appropriate Government;

(ii) any contribution paid by the employer to any Pension Fund or Provident Fund or under any scheme of social insurance;

(iii) any travelling allowance or the value of any travelling concession;

(iv) any sum paid to the person employed to defray special expenses entailed on him by the nature of his employment; or

(v) any gratuity payable on discharge;

22. Penalties for certain offences

Any employer who-

(a) pays to any employee less than the minimum rates of wages fixed for that employee’s class of work, or less than the amount due to him under the provisions of this Act, or

(b) contravenes any rule or order made under section 13, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both:

Provided that in imposing any fine for an offence under this section, the Court shall take into consideration the amount of any compensation already awarded against the accused in any proceedings taken under section 20.

22-A. General provision for punishment of other offences

Any employer who contravenes any provision of this Act or of any rule or order made thereunder shall, if no other penalty is provided for such contravention by this Act, be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

22-B. Cognizance of offences

(1) No Court shall take cognizance of a complaint against any person for an offence-

(a) under clause (a) of section 22 unless an application in respect of the facts constituting such offence has been presented under section 20 and has been granted wholly or in part, and the appropriate Government or an officer authorised by it in this behalf has sanctioned the making of the complaint;

(b) under clause (b) of section 22 or under section 22-A, except on a complaint made by, or with the sanction of, an Inspector.

(2) No Court shall take cognizance of an offence-

(a) under clause (a) or clause (b) of section 22, unless complaint thereof is made within one month of the grant of sanction under this section;

(b) under section 22-A, unless complaint thereof is made within six months of the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed.

22-C. Offences by companies

(1) If the person committing any offence under this Act is a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:

Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Explanation .-For the purposes of this section,-

(a) “company” means any body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals, and

(b) “director” in relation to a firm means a partner in the firm.

22-D. Payment of undisbursed amounts due to employees

All amounts payable by an employer to an employee as the amount of minimum wages of the employee under this Act or otherwise due to the employee under this Act or any rule or order made thereunder shall, if such amounts could not or cannot be paid to the employee on account of his death before payment or on account of his whereabouts not being known, be deposited with the prescribed authority who shall deal with the money so deposited in such manner as may be prescribed.

22-E. Protection against attachment of assets of employer with Government -Any amount deposited with the appropriate Government by an employer to secure the due performance of a contract with that Government and any other amount due to such employer from that Government in respect of such contract shall not be liable to attachment under any decree or order of any Court in respect of any debt or liability incurred by the employer other than any debt or liability incurred by the employer towards any employee employed in connection with the contract aforesaid.

22-F. Application of Payment of Wages Act, 1936, to scheduled employments .-(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 (4 of 1936), the appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that, subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), all or any of the provisions of the said Act shall, with such modifications, if any, as may be specified in the notification, apply to wages payable to employees in such scheduled employments as may be specified in the notification.

(2) Where all or any of the provisions of the said Act are applied to wages payable to employees in any scheduled employment under sub-section (1), the Inspector appointed under this Act shall be deemed to be the Inspector for the purpose of enforcement of the provisions so applied within the local limits of his jurisdiction.

23. Exemption of employer from liability in certain cases

Where an employer is charged with an offence against this Act, he shall be entitled, upon complaint duly made by him, to have any other person whom he charges as the actual offender, brought before the Court at the time appointed for hearing the charge; and if, after the commission of the offence has been proved, the employer proves to the satisfaction of the Court-

(a) that he has used due diligence to enforce the execution of this Act, and

(b) that the said other person committed the offence in question without his knowledge, consent or connivance, that other person shall be convicted of the offence and shall be liable to the like punishment as if he were the employer and the employer shall be discharged:

Provided that in seeking to prove, as aforesaid, the employer may be examined on oath, and the evidence of the employer or his witness, if any, shall be subject to cross-examination by or on behalf of the person whom the employer charges as the actual offender and by the prosecution.


National Capital Territory of Delhi vide the Minimum Wages (Delhi) Amendment Act, 2017

  • The term of punishment has now been increased from 6 months to 3 years.
  • The amount of maximum fine which may be imposed has also been increased from INR 500 to INR 50,000.

 Karnataka Amendment Act, 2017

1. Amendment of section 20.- In section 20 of the Minimum Wages Act,

1948 (Central Act XI of 1948), (herein after referred to as the Principal Act,-

(i) in sub-section (1), for the words “not below the rank of Labour Commissioner”, the words “not below the rank of Assistant Labour Commissioner” shall be substituted. (ii) in sub-section (4), for the words “fifty rupees” the words “one thousand rupees” shall be substituted.

2. Amendment of section 22.- In section 22 of the Principal Act for the words “ which may extend to five hundred rupees” the words “which shall not be less than five thousand rupees but which may extend to ten thousand rupees” shall be substituted.

3. Amendment of section 22 A.- In section 22A of the Principal Act, for the words “five hundred rupees” the words “ten thousand rupees” shall be substituted


Code on Wages, 2019 has repealed the following Acts :

  1.  The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 (4 of 1936), the Minimum Wages Act,
  2. 1948 (11 of 1948), the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 (21 of 1965) and
  3. the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 (25 of 1976) are hereby repealed.

Penalties under Code on Wages, 2019

Sec 54. Penalties for offences. – (1) Any employer who –

(a) pays to any employee less than the amount due to such employee under the provisions of this Code shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees;

(b) having been convicted of an offence under clause (a) is again found guilty of similar offence under this clause, within five years from the date of the commission of the first or subsequent offence, he shall, on the second and the subsequent commission of the offence, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both;

(c) contravenes any other provision of this Code or any rule made or order made or issued thereunder shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees;

(d) having been convicted of an offence under clause (c) is again found guilty of similar offence under this clause, within five years from the date of the commission of the first or subsequent offence, he shall, on the second and the subsequent commission of the offence under this clause, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to forty thousand rupees, or with both.


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