The pay gap is an issue for our country because it prohibits the country to become a superpower
in economic areas. This article prescribes the “Equal pay for equal work” and Constitutional and
Labor legislation concepts in Acts like the Equal Remuneration Act, Contract Labor, and
Factories Act, etc. The Directive Principle of State Policy defined under Part IV of the
Constitution has provision for equal pay for equal work. It also states where can be discriminated
against or not in payment.
Equal pay for equal work means an equal payment to someone who has been employed in the
same place and does the same work. Even the temporary worker who has done the same work in
the same shift should get equal payment in comparison to the permanent worker.
Article 14 – Equality before the law means every person is equal in the eyes of Law there should
not be discrimination. Everyone has equal rights and opportunities .
Article 15(1) – Prohibition of discrimination against citizens of India on grounds of caste or sex
which means no one can be distinguished and unfavorable to the person. This means the
employer will get equal payment from an employer either from a different caste or a woman .
Article 15(3) – It is the exception of Article 15 clauses 1 and 2. The state can make laws for
women and children to improve the situations of women and children .
Article 16 – Equal opportunity in public employment .
Article 39 – It is defined that the State should direct the policies for equal remuneration to both
men and women. This means if both the parties are doing equal work then they should be paid
equally without any discrimination. If the people are in the same post or either different place
then he should get equal payment.
Article 42 – The state should ensure and make provision for the workplace should be a humane
condition for women and make provision for maternity relief .
Article 51(A) (e) – To abolish the practices against women’s dignity .
The term equal also includes allowances benefits and promotions. The directive principles are
not enforceable by law. The state must make legislation for the prohibition of discrimination in
payment. Also, it is a fundamental right under Articles 14, 15 and 16. Various judgments have
been decided through fundamental rights. Equal pay for equal work was first acknowledged in
the case Kishori Mohanlal Bakshi v. Union of India , in which the Supreme Court held that the
court cannot enforce the court of law. In 1987, in the case, Mackinnon Mackenzie & Company
Limited v. Audrey D coastal & others , the woman who was a stenographer was discriminated
against based on sex she paid less than men. The court held that it is discrimination against
women. When both men and women are doing the same work in the same circumstances they
should be paid equally.
Randhir Singh v. Union of India , in this case, the court held that the equality for equal work is
mentioned in directive principles and directive states and not under the fundamental right but is
considered a Constitutional goal. The court can enforce constitutional remedies prescribed under
State of Punjab and Ors v. Jagjit Singh and Ors , in this case, the court held that the workers
who are doing temporary work, ad hoc and daily wages should get equal payment which is given
to the permanent worker. To refuse the equal payment is oppressive, coercive and exploitative
behavior with them.
Statute related to equal pay for equal work
Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923
- Those workers accidentally injured during work should be compensated by companies.
- Because of differences in negotiating power, women may be exploited.
Minimum Wages Act, 1948
- The state has fixed minimum wages in the territory. This means an employer cannot give less than the fixed wages.
- Workers are poorly organized & have less negotiating power in India. Because in India there is also the problem of employment so the workers are accepting the money without negotiation.
Factories Act, 1948
- The object of this Act is to improve the conditions of laborers in factories and industries.
Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
The object was to make this Act that there should be a separate provision for utilities and fix
working hours for the women.
Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
In 1975, this was passed as equal remuneration Ordinance, 1975 and further converted into an
Act, the Equal remuneration Act, 1976. Women were not getting equal payments and working
conditions according to them. The Act made for improvement of the women condition in
remuneration. The provision of the Act is against discrimination in the recruitment and
promotion of men and women. When this Act was enacted, they considered the physical & social
burden a woman faces or the condition of the women during their pregnancy time.
In the case, Dharwad District P.W.D. Literate Daily Wage Employees Association and
others v. State of Karnataka and others. the court in this case held that Sec. 5 of the equal remuneration Act states that there shall be no discrimination against women in their appointment,
recruitment, and promotion. It means if both men and women are working in the same condition
then women should not be discriminated on these. The employer should maintain a register or
documents to avoid unjust practices.
Code on Wages Act, 2019
This Act considered equal pay for equal work for all genders. Under Sec.16 of this Act has given
the power to the employer that they can fix wages based on monthly, daily, or weekly but not
more than a month.
Exceptions of equal pay for equal work
This is mentioned in our Constitution in Directive Principles and Directive States. However, it is
not an absolute right. Exceptions are not mentioned but they came from the cases.
In the case F.A.I.C and C.E.S v. Union of India 13 , the court held that employers can fix
different pay scales for employees who have a similar post and work but there is a difference
between responsibility, reliability, and confidentiality. Equal payment depends on the work that
has been done and not the volume of work.
The problem related to equal remuneration is not only limited to India but is worldwide. This has
been discussed at various conventions. The Equal Remuneration Convention, 1952 states that
there should not be discrimination against equal remuneration.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has stated that it doesn’t matter if the labor is male
or female if they are doing equal work with equal capacity, there is no requirement of the gender
Gender pay gap
This means the difference between the earnings of men and women who are involved in the same
work. India ranks the last 10 in female participation. Female participation is a very low rate in
rural areas compared to urban areas. Women are not educated. This is also the reason.
In India, we have many statutes which talk about how everyone should get equal pay for equal
work. But the inequality in recruitment still exists. Court has decided in many cases that it is the
right of the employees to get equal payment. Government should organize a campaign for
awareness towards equal recruitment to labour.
Every individual should be equally paid there should not be discrimination but employers can
discriminate based on responsibility and volume of work done by employees.
This article is written by Prachi Yadav, a 2 nd Year student from Mody University of Science and
Technology, Laxmangarh, Rajasthan.