Several lakhs of workers in the organised sector will benefit as the Narendra Modi government is set to raise the salary threshold for mandatory bonus for workers from Rs 10,000 a month at present to Rs 15,000 and the minimum bounty from an annual Rs 3,500 now to Rs 4,500. The proposal, agreed to by employers’associations at a recent meeting of an inter-ministerial group, would require Parliament’s approval as the Payments of Bonus Act, 1965, requires to be amended for this purpose.
The salary ceiling for mandatory bonus eligibility was last fixed in 2007 and made effective retrospectively from April 1, 2006. While industry associations demanded exempting sick units from the requirement of paying bonus, trade unions have pitched for removal of the ceilings as “profits are not capped”, official sources said. The unions also asked for extending the benefit to workers under the Industrial Disputes Act, they added.
Under Section 10 of Payments of Bonus Act, “every employer (as defined in the Act) shall be bound to pay to every employee in respect of every accounting year, a minimum bonus which shall be 8.33% of the salary or wage earned by the employee during the accounting year”. All factories and establishments employing 20 or more persons are expected to pay the bonus compulsorily, provided the worker has worked in the establishment for at least 30 days. Employees in Life Insurance Corporation, seamen, dock workers and university employees are outside the Act’s ambit.