Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The reduction of the wage period itself, on the other hand, would have important effects. Long intervals between wage payments invariably add to the embarrassments of the poor, and have an appreciable influence in binding the worker to the money-lender. The mere purchase of goods on credit is not necessarily equivalent to running into debt and the shopkeeper (who is often the money-lender) frequently does not charge interest on the current account for provisions. But he gets the equivalent of interest in an enhanced price and where the worker has already other debts, a month's credit is a distinct and insidious addition to his burden. It strengthens the chain which holds him to his creditor, and it acts as an additional obstacle to the habit of saving. Some workers spoke to us of the advantage they would secure from weekly wages in being able to do more purchasing in cash, and we believe that the general adoption of weekly payments would have important effects in this direction. A shorter period of payment should also improve the workers' financial position in other ways. The illiterate worker tends to take a short view; the longer view of life is largely a matter of education. It is, therefore, of particular importance in hie case that the connection between cause and effect should be as short and obvious as possible. Where payment is on piece rates, there is a distinct tendency for the standard of work to improve as pay-day approaches. We believe that a reduction in the period would have a definite effect on efficiency. It would also assist the worker to more judicious expenditure. It is unfortunately impossible to produce conclusive proof of our view by a comparison of the position of those workers who are paid weekly or fortnightly with that of the monthly-paid workers. Accurate statistics of indebtedness are not available and, even if they were, the differences of race and training between workers in different centres and different industries would make it difficult to base conclusions upon them. We believe it to be a fact that the coal miner, who is paid weekly or daily, is much less in debt, in proportion to his income, than the railway worker, who is paid monthly; but the differences between the two cases in respect of the other factors which can affect indebtedness is so great that no deduction can safely be drawn from the fact. It should be added, however, that a number of employers who pay monthly make advances against wages to their workers during the month.
In a few instances interest is charged. Advances are sometimes given systematically on a particular day and may represent a substantial fraction of the monthly wage. Such cases represent an approximation to a system of half-monthly payment, and the position of the worker is made easier. In most establishments, however, no advances or only very small advances are granted.