GRATUITY ACT : DOUBLE STANDARDS BY GOI
Why The GOI Adopting Double Standards In Enacting Gratuity Act ?
Why The GOI Adopting Double Standards In Enacting Gratuity Act ?
By JAG MOHAN THAKEN
A retired Banker ,Thakar Singh , floated a message on Whatsapp, on the starting day of April ,2018 raising the effective date issue of payment of Gratuity ( Amendment ) Act ,2018. He asks , “ Why the central Govt. , claiming ‘SABKA SAATH- SABKA VIKAS’, is discriminating between the central government employees and central government managed banks employees while awarding the gratuity?” He adds, “ Where as the effective date of gratuity payment for the central employees is w.e.f. 01.01.16 and for the bankers it is 29.03.2018. What is the fault of all those bank employees , who retired between 01.01.2016 and 28.03.2018 ? As the issue of gratuity was delayed by the govt. and not by the employees ,so It is totally INJUSTICE .”
To Whom The Gratuity Act Benefits ?
Placing the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment ) Bill, 2017 before Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha; Central Minister of Labour and Employment , Santosh Kumar Gangwar , stated the objects and reasons of the amendment bill , “The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 (the Act) was enacted to provide for a scheme for the payment of gratuity to employees engaged in factories, mines, oilfields, plantations, ports, railway companies, shops or other establishments who have rendered a minimum five years of continuous service with the establishment employing ten or more persons. The calculation of gratuity amount is based on a formula, which is fifteen days of wages for each year of completed service, subject to a certain ceiling. The present ceiling, as provided under section 4 of the Act is rupees ten lakhs which was fixed in the year 2010.
After implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission, the ceiling of gratuity
for Central Government employees has been enhanced from rupees ten lakhs to rupees twenty lakhs. In the past, the ceiling amount of gratuity under the Act has followed the Central Pay Commission recommendations.
Therefore, considering the inflation and wage increase even in case of employees engaged in private and public sector, the entitlement of gratuity is also required to be revised for employees who are covered under the Act.
It has also been proposed to empower the Central Government to notify the ceiling proposed, instead of amending the said Act, so that the limit can be revised from time to time keeping in view the increase in wage and inflation, and future Pay Commissions.”
What Is The Bone Of Contention ?
After getting the bill passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha , the Central Government issued a Gazette notification on March 29 ,2018 which was effective from 29.03.2018 , which enables the Govt to enhance the ceiling of tax-free gratuity to Rs. 20 lakh from the existing Rs. 10 lakh for employees under the Payment of Gratuity Act . But , now ,this effective date (29.03.2018 ) has become the bone of contention . All the remaining to be benefitted employees were sure of equivalency in the payment of gratuity .
S. Venkateshwar Reddy , National Secretary General of All India Regional Rural Bank Employees Association ( AIRRBEA) accepts , “The working class in India were of the view that the amendment provision of enhanced ceiling up to Rs. 20 lakh will be effective from 01.01.2016 , the date from which the Central Govt. Employees have been allowed the revised limit .”
But why the Central Government has taken a discriminatory step , is hammering the Trade Unions .The Trade Unions were rest assured by the reason of Gratuity enhancement stated by the Central Minister of Labour and Employment , Santosh Kumar Gangwar , in the Bill, which states , “After implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission, the ceiling of gratuity for Central Government employees has been enhanced from rupees ten lakhs to rupees twenty lakhs.
Therefore, considering the inflation and wage increase even in case of employees engaged in private and public sector, the entitlement of gratuity is also required to be revised for employees who are covered under the Act.”
The Trade Unions are now in a jolt and feeling cheated with the Govt’s decision . AIRRBEA General Secretary , Mr. Reddy , alleges , “The notification has been a matter of not only surprising to The Trade Unions/Working Class , but also has been a further example of anti-employee attitude of the Central Government and its Labour Ministry .”
Now here the question arises , “ Why the major highlighted reason of inflation and wage increase in case of employees engaged in private and public sectors for enhancing the gratuity ceiling to Rs. 20 lakh was ignored while deciding the effective date ? Were these employees not affected by these factors of inflation and wage increase during the period from 01.01.2016 to 28.03.2018 ? Were these factors only affecting the central government employees during the above stated period ? Why the discrimination ? Why the double standards ?”
Haryana State Secretary , All India Kisan Sabha and a Trade Unionist Dr .Balbir Singh explains the reason behind this discrimination , “ All the governments use Divide and Rule policy. The present central government also using this policy by bifurcating the working class into central government employees and others . In addition to this , the government is also benefitting the private sector owners by not extending the gratuity enhancement limit to the private sector employees in consonance with central government employees .”
Now , what step the shorted out employees will take to get the parity in gratuity ? Will they adopt the agitational path ? Will the Trade Unions sit calm with folded hands ? Mr. Reddy warns the central government , “ There will be a wide spread protest against this motivated and anti-worker approach of the Central Government , and we shall be a party to such protest actions , jointly to be decided by Trade Unions in banks / Central Trade Unions and other Federations , so that the authorities can be forced to review the date of effect of the above amendment in line with the same related to Central Government Employees.”
A retired Banker ,Mr. S.C Bhardwaj satires , “ The Central Government is compensating the loss made by Neerav Modi and Others by snatching the bread and slice of the retired bank employees .”
Now it is up to the central government , whether it resolves the issue with a positive thought or is ready to face the consequences in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections ?