While businesses are expected to be hit hard due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, has asked both private and public organizations to not terminate jobs on the pretext of the prevailing conditions. The ministry says that there may be incidence that employees or workers would be forced to go on leave without their wages or salaries.
“In this critical time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, the Ministry of Labour and Employment advises all public and private employers to support their employees and workers,” says a letter circulated by Joint Secretary Kalpana Rajsinghot.
“The termination of employees from the job or reduction in wages in this scenario would further deepen the crises and will not only weaken the financial condition of the employee but also hamper their morale to combat their fight with this epidemic,” adds Kalpana Rajsinghot in the letter.
The ministry especially mentions casual or contractual workers in the letter and says that “If any worker takes leave, he should be deemed to be on duty without any consequential deduction in wages for this period. “ The advisory goes on to add that “if the place of employment is to be made non-operational due to the Covid-19, the employees of such unit will be deemed to be on duty.”
The Coronavirus pandemic has already begun to impact businesses across the globe. The aviation industry is expected to lose $29 billion to the Coronavirus this year, according to the International Air Transport Association. GoAir and Air India have already announced cost-cutting measures including a reduction in wages and cancellation of new employment.
However, Reliance Industries has today announced that they would continue to pay contract and temporary workers, even if work has halted due to the Coronavirus crisis. For those earning below Rs. 30,000 per month, salaries will be paid twice a month to protect their cash flow and mitigate any overwhelming financial burden.