Payment of Wages Act

Penalty for Offences under the Act (Section 20)

The Payment of Wages Act, 1936, also offers a set of rules and regulations governing offences and the penalties thereof. In this article, we will look at Section 20 of the Act which provides details about all these rules.

offences

                                                                                              Source: Pixabay

Penalty for Offences under the Act (Section 20)

Here is what Section 20 says about the levy of penalty for offences:

Sub-section (1)

The person responsible for the payment of wages to an employed person might contravene any of the provisions relating to:

In any of the above scenarios, the person responsible is punishable with a fine not less than one thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 1,500) and might extend up to seven thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 7,500).

Learn more about Deduction from Wages here in detail.

Sub-section (2)

If a person responsible is for contravening the provisions relating to:

  • Fixation of the wage period
  • Making the payment on a working day
  • Paying the wages in currency coins and/or currency notes or both
  • Recording fines or deductions for losses or damages in a register in the prescribed format
  • Displaying notices pertaining to the acts and omissions which attract a fine

Then, such a person is punishable with a fine of up to three thousand seven hundred and fifty rupees (Rs. 3,750).

Sub-section 2A

In a firm, one person is responsible to nominate or designate a person responsible for the payment of wages. If he fails to nominate/designate a person, then he is also punishable with a fine, not less than three thousand rupees (Rs. 3,000).

Sub-section (3)

The Act requires a person responsible to maintain records, registers or furnish information or return. If such a person:

  • Fails to maintain the required record or register; or
  • Willfully refuses or neglects to furnish such information or return (without a lawful excuse); or
  • Willfully furnishes or causes to furnish any information or return which he knows is false; or
  • Refuses to answer or willfully gives a false answer to any question

Then, each such offence is punishable with a fine of not less than one thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 1,500). However, this fine may go up to seven thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 7,500).

Sub-section (4)

If any person:

  • Willfully obstructs an Inspector in the discharge of his duties under the Act; or
  • Refuses or willfully neglects to allow an Inspector to enter, inspect, examine, supervise, or enquire as permitted under the Act in relation to any railway, factory, or industrial or other establishments; or
  • Willfully refuses to produce on the demand of an Inspector, any register or other documents kept in pursuance of this Act; or
  • Prevents or attempts to prevent or does anything when he has reason to believe is likely to prevent any person from appearing before an Inspector who is acting in pursuance of his duties

Then, such a person is punishable with a fine of at least one thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 1,500). However, this fine cannot exceed seven thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 7,500).

Sub-section (5)

Let’s say that a person who has been convicted of any offence which is punishable under this Act, is guilty of an offence which contravenes the same provision.

For the subsequent conviction, such a person is punishable with imprisonment of at least one month.

Further, this might extend up to six months. Additionally, he is fined at least three thousand seven hundred and fifty rupees (Rs. 3,750) which may extend up to twenty-two thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 22,500).

The important condition is that the prior offence cannot be more than two years old than the current offence.

Sub-section (6)

If any person fails or willfully neglects to pay the wages of any employed person on or before the date that the authority decides, then he is punishable with an additional fine of up to seven hundred and fifty rupees (Rs. 750) per day for which such failure or neglect continues.

Solved Question

Q1. What happens if a person commits an offence which contravenes the same provision twice within two years?

Answer: If a person commits an offence which contravenes the same provision twice within two years, then he is punishable with imprisonment of at least one month. Further, this might extend up to six months. Additionally, he is fined at least three thousand, seven hundred, and fifty rupees (Rs. 3,750) which may extend up to twenty-two thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 22,500).

Q2. What are the rules pertaining to the willful obstruction of an Inspector who is acting in pursuance of his duties under the Act?

Answer:

If any person:

  • Willfully obstructs an Inspector in the discharge of his duties under the Act; or
  • Refuses or willfully neglects to allow an Inspector to enter, inspect, examine, supervise, or enquire as permitted under the Act in relation to any railway, factory, or industrial or other establishments; or
  • Willfully refuses to produce on the demand of an Inspector, any register or other documents kept in pursuance of this Act; or
  • Prevents or attempts to prevent or does anything when he has reason to believe is likely to prevent any person from appearing before an Inspector who is acting in pursuance of his duties

Then, such a person is punishable with a fine of at least one thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 1,500). However, this fine may go up to seven thousand and five hundred rupees (Rs. 7,500).

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