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Lock-Down 4.0-Payment of Wages in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra

By May 19, 2020 No Comments

A. LOCK-DOWN 4.0 BY GOVERNMENT OF INDIA:

For the best interest of the public in general and as a part of safety measures from the adverse effects of Covid-19, the Government of India, through its notification dated May 17, 2020[1] (“Notification”) has extended the period of lock-down till May 31, 2020[2], however, through the same notification the Government of India has withdrawn all prior notifications, which as on this date have been ceased to be in effect[3] and therefore, void and has laid new guidelines for the period of lock-down 4.0, which prohibits the following:

1. Domestic and international passenger airlines, except medical and security purposes;

2. Metro rail services;

3. Educational Institutions;

4. All hospitality services with certain exceptions such as canteens at bus depot, airports and meant for government employees, healthcare workers, quarantine facilities, etc. and restaurants can open their kitchens for home delivery only;

5. All entertainment services such as malls, movie theatres, etc.;

6. Any kind of gatherings such as social, political, cultural, etc.,

7. All religious places.

In the same notification, it has been mentioned that all other activities, other than the above are permitted in all zones except in Containment Zones, which shall be identified by the respective state governments based on the parameters set forth by the Ministry of Family and Health Welfare, Government of India. It is pertinent to note that the current Notification is silent in relation to the payment of wages to the employees and as mentioned above, the notifications which obligated the employers to pay salaries to all the employees without any deductions have been over-ridden by the current Notification, which made all previous notifications null and have been ceased to be in effect.

B. LOCK-DOWN 4.0 IN ANDHRA PRADESH:

The Government of Andhra Pradesh, through its notification dated May 17, 2020 has laid down complete implementation of the Notification, therefore, all prior notifications would be ceased to be in effect and would consequently be void, including the notifications which obligated the employers to pay salaries to all the employees without any deduction.

C. LOCK-DOWN 4.0 IN TELANGANA AND MAHARASHTRA:

The Notification has directed the respective state governments that they shall not dilute the guidelines laid down under the Notification and that they may, based on the assessment of the situation, may impose certain restrictions and prohibit certain activities without diluting the afore-mentioned guidelines.

Therefore, keeping in mind the limitations imposed under the Notification, the Government of Telangana has issued a notification dated May 18, 2020[4] (“GO”), which has permitted all shops, establishments, private offices, government offices to open and have also permitted e-commerce, industries and constructions activities, provided that they follow the SOPs provided under the Notification. However, the Government has strictly prohibited any movement, except in case of medical emergencies and maintaining supply of essential goods and services, in the containment zones, which would be identified by the Government of Telangana time to time.

However, the GO has not expressly withdrawn the prior notifications and is silent in relation to payment of salaries to the employees, but on the other hand, has mentioned that all the restrictions under G.O Ms. 64 dated May 07, 2020 issued by the Government of Telangana continues, unless specifically modified under the GO. It is pertinent to note that G.O Ms. 64 dated May 07, 2020 further validates the continuance of G.O. No.45 dated March 22, 2020, which specifically obligates the private establishments to pay full salaries to all employees including those working under contract and outsourcing basis during the lock-down period[5].

Further, the State of Maharashtra has issued a notification dated May 17, 2020 laying down that all the government orders issued earlier would continue to remain enforceable, and therefore, in light of the prior orders of the Government of India, all employers shall be obligated to pay full salary to its employees[6].

However, in the matter of Hand Tools Manufacturers Association vs. Union of India (Writ Petition (Civil) Diary No. 11193/2020), the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, on May 15, 2020 has stayed the Notification, which has now been invalid as over-ridden by the new Notification, however, at the same time, has directed to all government that no coercive action will be taken against the employers for a period of one week for failing to pay wages to its employees, however the relief is only valid till May 22, 2020, unless the same is extended or adjudged.

As on this date, with regard to payment of wages/salaries to the employees in Telangana and Maharashtra, all the restrictions continue as laid down under the prior notifications unless explicitly modified under their recent government orders in their respective states, but we wait for the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India to give its decision.

Authors: Prashant Jain, Co-Founder & Partner; Abhishek Gupta, Associate.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. For any queries, the authors can be reached at (i) prashant@samistilegal.in (ii) abhishek@samistilegal.in.

References:

[1] https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/MHAOrderextension_1752020.pdf

[2] Entry 1 of the Notification.

[3] Third paragraph of the recital of the Notification.

[4] GO MS. No. 68, General Administration Department, Government of Telangana.

[5] Entry 14 of G.O. No.45 dated March 22, 2020

(https://labour.telangana.gov.in/content/Downloads/GON_45.pdf)

[6] GO No. DMU/2020/CR.92/DisM-1

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