Equal Pay For Equal Work Applies to Temporary Employees also
Tejaswita 28 Oct 2016

Equal Pay For Equal Work Applies to Temporary Employees also

The Supreme Court in a recent decision in case titled as “State of Punjab v. Jagjit Singh” (link- https://indiankanoon.org/doc/106416990/) considered the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work on temporary employees before it.

The Court held that with reference to the application of the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’, in relation to temporary employees (daily-wage employees, ad-hoc appointees, employees appointed on casual basis, contractual employees and the like), the sole factor that requires  determination is, whether the concerned employees were rendering similar duties and responsibilities, as were being discharged by regular employees, holding the same/corresponding posts.

The Court was of the view that the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ has also been extended to temporary employees (differently described as work-charge, daily-wage, casual, ad-hoc, contractual, and the like).

It was observed that it is fallacious to determine artificial parameters to deny fruits of labour. An employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another, who performs the same duties and responsibilities. Certainly not, in a welfare state. Such an action besides being demeaning, strikes at the very foundation of human dignity. Any one, who is compelled to work at a lesser wage, does not do so voluntarily. He does so, to provide food and shelter to his family, at the cost of his self respect and dignity, at the cost of his self worth, and at the cost of his integrity. For he knows, that his dependents would suffer immensely, if he does not accept the lesser wage. Any act, of paying less wages, as compared to others similarly situate, constitutes an act of exploitative enslavement, emerging out of a domineering position. Undoubtedly, the action is oppressive, suppressive and coercive, as it compels involuntary subjugation.

The Court also referred to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 to which India is a signatory to the above covenant, having ratified the same on 10.4.1979 and also to Article 141 of the Constitution of India, the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ which constitutes a clear and unambiguous right and is vested in every employee - whether engaged on regular or temporary basis.

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