Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
This Act, passed on March 8, 1976, aims to provide for the payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers, and to prevent discrimination against women in employment. ‘Remuneration’ is defined as the basic wage or salary and any additional emoluments payable in cash or kind to a person employed, if the terms of the contract of employment – whether expressed or implied – were fulfilled.
This Act extends to the whole of India.
What does the Act say about employers?
The Act says that no employer shall pay any worker employed by them a remuneration – in cash or in kind – at rates less favourable than those paid to workers of the opposite sex in such an establishment or employment for performing the same work or work of a similar nature.
No employer shall discriminate against women while making recruitments, except where the employment of women in such work is prohibited or restricted by any law in force.
This, says the Act, shall not affect any priority or reservation for Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, ex-servicemen or retrenched employees in the matter of recruitment to posts in an establishment.
What, under this Act, is the Advisory Committee?
The Act says that the ‘appropriate government’ shall constitute one or more Advisory Committees to advise it on the extent to which women may be employed in establishments or employments.
‘Appropriate government’ relates to “(i)…any employment carried on by or under the authority of the Central Government or a railway administration, or in relation to a banking company, a mine, oilfield or major port or any corporation established by or under a Central Act, the Central Government, and (ii) in relation to any other employment, the State Government.”
The Advisory Committee shall be concerned with the number of women employed in an establishment or employment; the nature and hours of work at such an establishment; the ‘suitability of women for employment’; the need for providing employment opportunities for women, including part-time employment; and other factors as the Committee may think fit.
The appropriate government may issue directions on the employment of women workers as it may think fit – after considering the suggestions of the Advisory Committee and giving to the persons concerned in the establishment or employment an opportunity to make ‘representations’.
What does the Act state about hearing and deciding claims and complaints?
The appropriate government, says the Act, may appoint officers as it thinks fit to be the authorities for hearing and deciding claims and complaints according to the provisions of the Act.
Under which circumstances will this Act not apply?
Nothing in this Act shall apply to “cases affecting the terms and conditions of a woman’s employment in complying with the requirements of any law giving special treatment to women.” This Act shall not apply to any special treatment accorded to women in connection with the expected or unexpected birth of a child, or the terms and conditions related to provisions on retirement, marriage or death.
Focus and Factoids by Archana Shukla.
Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India
Government of India, New Delhi
08 Mar, 1976