No Action Against Firms That Didn't Pay Wages During Lockdown: Top Court

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 Top Court

New Delhi:

In a relief for private employers, the Supreme Court today said no coercive action can be taken till the end of July against private employers who have not paid wages to workers during the coronavirus lockdown.

The top court said states must facilitate negotiations between employees and employers over wage payment, and file their reports with the labour commissioners concerned.

The centre has been given four more weeks by the Supreme Court  to file a reply on the legality of the March 29 notification that had ordered mandatory payment of full wages during the lockdown.

The Union Home Ministry, in its circular in March, had asked all employers to make payment of wages to their workers without any deduction for the period their establishments were under closure during the lockdown to contain COVID-19.

"It cannot be disputed that the industry and labourers need each other. Efforts should be made to sort out disputes regarding payment of wages for 50 days," a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah said while passing the orders.

The top court bench posted the petitions - filed by the Small Scale Industries Association and companies including Ludhiana Hand Tools Association, Ficus Pax and others - against the March 29 circular, for further hearing in last week of July.

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