Is salary payable on a ‘Bandh’ day ?

Despite  the  Supreme Court placing a ban on Bandhs, incidents of Bandhs in India are far too common. The question therefore is; when Bandh is declared by political parties, yet the employees are willing to work or report to work, is the management required to pay them wages if they are not provided with work.

During the period of agitation , entire operations are paralysed and work comes to a grinding halt. Under such circumstances, if workers are not present at the factory or have not reported to work, they shall not be paid any salary on the principle “No Work No Pay” as per employment law in India. However, if during such a Bandh if a few workers present themselves at the gate, but are prevented from attending work by the organizers of the agitation or are sent back by the management to avoid law and order situation, the workers are entitled to wages as the workmen did not voluntarily absent themselves from attending duty. The workers were ready and willing to present themselves for duty but were physically prevented by the organizers of the Bandh or by the management. Therefore, the wages of the workers cannot be deducted on the ground that there was no work and therefore there is no question of paying wages.

However, on a Bandh day if the workers are not present at work or at the gates and the management has not prevented them from reporting to work, there is no question of giving wages on such count. The non-reporting to work shall amount to absence from duty and such an absence will lead to deduction of wages. If the employee is responsible for absence from work, he is not entitled to wages for the period of work. Therefore, on Bandh day if employee fails to report to work, he is not entitled to wages. However, if the employee reports to work at the gates of the factory and is not allowed to resume work either by the organizers of the Bandh or by the management, the management is liable to pay wages.

One can refer the judgment of the Hon’ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh in the matter of Kothari (Madras) Limited V/s. Second Additional Judge cum Appellate Authority & Ors.

In case of Bandh promoted by the Trade Unions or the workers, there is no question of any payment as the Bandh is initiated by the Trade Unions of which the workers are members. In case of political Bandhs, the managements normally treat the Bandh day as weekly off and instead, work on the weekly off day. However, this is possible only with the consent of the Union or the workers.

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