What is 'wages'?
A general definition of wages can be inferred from the Bangladesh Labour Act (BLA) 2006 as all remuneration payable to a worker in respect of his employment or of work done in such employment. Chapter X of BLA lays down the provisions regarding payment of wages to workers. As per Section 120, wages shall include any remuneration paid for holiday, overtime or leave as well as sum payable due to lay-off and suspension, among others. Section 121 establishes that an employer has a responsibility to pay all wages payable to the workers.
When does wage become due?
General provisions regarding the wage period and the mode of payment are enumerated in sections 122-124. Wage period cannot be longer than one month and wage must be paid before the expiry of the 7th day of the last day of the wage period, i.e. if the wage period ends on the last day of a month, wage must be paid before the end of the 7th day of the following month. In case of terminated workers, payment of wage must be completed before the expiry of the thirtieth day since the day of the termination. Payments must be made in current currency.
When can deduction be made from wages?
Deductions from wages can be made only as per the provisions of BLA. Section 125 contains a list of the allowable deductions which includes deductions for income tax payable by the worker, payment for subscription to the CBA Union, recovery of advances or loans or overpayment etc. Wages may be deducted in case of absence from work only if he is required by the terms of employment to work and he remains absent during the whole or part of time of duty. But such deductions shall not exceed the amount of wage payable for the period of absence.
What redress can be sought when due wages are not paid/undue deductions are made etc.?
Workers or their legal representatives may bring a claim before the Labour Court if any deduction is made from the wages of a worker in contrary to the provisions of this Act or the wages of a worker is not paid or payment of his wages or gratuity payable under any rule or dues from the provident fund is delayed. They shall have to bring such a claim within 12 months from the deduction of wage or when the wage is due. Upon hearing the parties, the Court may direct the employer or other responsible persons to pay the wage due and may also direct for the payment of an additional 25% as compensation. Such order may be appealed before the Appellate Tribunal within 30 days of the passing of the order.
At both the stage of hearing the original claim or the appeal, the Court may attach the property of the employer if it is satisfied that the person responsible for payment is likely to evade the payment.