The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976

The Equal Remuneration Act is a gift of "the International Women's Year" to women workers. It is enacted to give effect to the provision of Article 39 of the Constitution of India which contains a directive principle of equal pay for equal work for both men an women. The Act provides for the payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers for the same work or work of a similar nature and for the prevention of discrimination on the ground of sex against women in the matter of employment. The main provisions of the Act are as follows.

Equal pay for equal work
No employer shall pay to any worker employed by him remuneration at rates less favourable than those at which remuneration is paid by him to the workers of the opposite sex for performing the same work or work of similar nature. {Section 4(1)}

No discrimination to be made while recruiting men and women

No employer shall make any discrimination against women while making recruitment for the same work or work of a similar nature. {Section 5}

Exceptions
The provisions of the Act shall be inapplicable when special treatment is given to women under any law or when special treatment is accorded to women in connection with the birth of a child. {Section 15}

Claims and Complaints
(a)Complaints with regard to the contravention of any provision of the Act and claims arising out of non-payment of wages at equal rates to men an women workers for the same work or work of similar nature shall be heard and decided by an authority appointed by the appropriate Government. An appeal shall lie against any order of the authority to an appellate authority appointed by the appropriate Government {Section 7}

(b)Monies due from an employer arising of the decision of the authority or the appellate authority can be recovered by making an application under Section 33-C(1) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. {Section 7(8)}

Penalties
If any employer (a) makes any recruitment in contravention of the provisions of the Act, or (b) makes any payment of remuneration at unequal rates to men and women workers, for the same work or work of a similar nature, or (c) makes any discrimination between men and women workers in contravention of the provisions of the Act, he would be punished with fine upto Rs. 10000.00 {Section 10}

Maintenance of Register
Every employer shall maintain in the prescribed form a register in relation to the workers employed by him. {Section 8 & Rule 6}

What is meant by equality of work?
The equality of work is not based on the designation or the nature of work alone. There are several other factors, which are equally relevant. They are qualifications, responsibilities, reliabilities, experience, confidentiality, functional need and requirements commensurate with the position in the hierarchy.

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