Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
While in our opinion the reduction of the waiting period in respect of wages is much less important than that of the wage period, we consider that labour has a strong claim to protection against the unduly long delays which are frequent at present. To quote the Government of India " it is no uncommon thing—in fact, it appears to be the rule in certain industries—for monthly wages to be systematically withheld until a fortnight after the close of the month to which they relate. And cases have come to the notice of Government in which wages had been withheld for considerably longer periods." We have been unable to find any adequate justification for this practice. There is no force in the argument that the withholding of the previous month's wages for a substantial part of the following month tends to prevent the workman from leaving his employer, and the long period is really not necessary for the calculation of wages. In many cases, and especially on railways which have been conspicuous in this matter, the division of the employees into groups paid on different days of the month would ease the strain that at present falls on the accounting staff in a particular portion of the month and secure prompt payment for all concerned. For various reasons the payment of wages in India is not so simple as it is in the West, but there is little evidence of serious attempts to secure that wages should be paid as promptly as possible. Our recommendation is that the law should insist on the payment of wages within 7 days from the expiry of the period in which they have been earned in the ordinary case and that they should be paid as early as possible but not later than two days from the date of discharge in the case of an operative who is discharged. In our opinion the law should be applicable to factories, mines, railways and plantations and it should provide for possible extensions to other branches of industry. It may be necessary to provide for exemptions to cover cases of those railway workers who live at a long distance from headquarters, but we hope that they will seldom be required. This proposal should secure for many workers the payment of their wages a week earlier than is customary at present and protect others against the very long delays to which they are subjected at times. It should be of especial assistance to the worker when he enters industry for the first time or returns to it after a period of absence.