Employers can deduct pay for voluntary absence of workers

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Giving an upper hand to the manufacturers, the court said, “In the event such workers voluntarily remain absent, the management would be at liberty to deduct their wages for their absence subject to the procedure laid down in law while initiating such action. This would apply even to areas where there may not have been a lockdown.”

The Aurangabad bench of the High Court of Bombay said since Maharashtra has partially lifted the lockdown in some industrial areas, workers would be expected to report for duty, but if they voluntarily remain absent, the management would be at liberty to deduct wages.

A Single-Judge Bench of Ravindra Ghuge said this while hearing a petition filed by 5 manufacturing companies challenging a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notification of March 29 invoking powers under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to ensure that all workers, including migrants, be paid their monthly wages for the lockdown period.

Referring to the partial lifting of lockdown by the State, the Court said in certain industrial areas, staff would be expected to work with adequate protection provided by the employers.

Giving an upper hand to the manufacturers, the court said, “In the event, such workers voluntarily remain absent, the management would be at liberty to deduct their wages for their absence subject to the procedure laid down in law while initiating such action. This would apply even to areas where there may not have been a lockdown.”

Declining to interfere with the Ministry of Home Affairs notification, Justice Ghuge said, “I would not be inclined to interfere with the impugned MHA order and would expect the petitioners to pay the gross monthly wages to the employees, except conveyance allowance and food allowance, if being paid on month to month basis in the cases of those workers who are not required to report for duties.”

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Source- The Hindu

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