Lockdown: MSMEs seek nod to pay salary in instalments

Demand immunity against coercive action in case of default

Lockdown: MSMEs seek nod to pay salary in instalments

Illustration: Sandeep Joshi

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, April 1

The lockdown has adversely affected the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the state as closure of industrial units has put on hold processing of salaries by the human resource (HR) executives.

In view of the government’s directions to pay wages to the staff despite their absence from work during the lockdown, the MSME sector has sought permission to pay salary to their staff in instalments till the industry resumes normal production.

Foreseeing delay in the payment, the Himachal Drug Manufacturers Association has made a representation to the Labour Commissioner, requesting him not to take any coercive action against the management of an industrial unit in case of temporary default in payment of wages. The association has also sought permission to pay the salaries in instalment in view of the grim scenario, said SL Singla, adviser, Himachal Drug Manufacturers Association.

The industry managements were also facing problem in processing the salary of their staff as most of the HR executives were residing in the tricity since the March 25 lockdown. Since the entry of outsiders was prohibited in the industrial belt of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh, which houses 350 pharma companies, the industry executives were unable to process their salaries within the stipulated time.

The association has also sought online permission to allow at least two HR executives per pharma unit to visit their offices from April 1 to April 7 to complete the process of salaries of their staff.

“The workforce that lies at the lowest ebb of the pyramid is in dire need of financial help but given the grim financial scenario it has become difficult to secure resources. As a facilitative measure, the state government should allow movement of the industrial workforce at least from within Himachal as this will allow us to run our industries,” said Singla.

Interestingly, a large chunk of the workforce residing within the industrial areas of Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh BBN was not turning up for work as they were assured full salaries for the lockdown period. The District Magistrate today issued directions to all such employees of units engaged in manufacturing essential items like pharma and food items to join duty so as to ensure normal availability of these commodities.

“Since it is a medical emergency, funds from ESI contributed by the employees can be utilised at this critical juncture to pay salaries to the employees and can be adjusted in future contributions,” said Rakesh Bansal, an MSME entrepreneur at Parwanoo.

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