The Madras High Court held that compensation due for the death of an employee should be based on the wages payable under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, unless the employee’s actual wages go beyond the minimum wage.
In this matter, Justice Nisha Banu observed that if this scheme is not followed, the reason of the ratifying of the Minimum Wages Act would be defeated. The High Court heard an appeal filed under the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1923 through a woman whose husband passed away in 2007. At the time of his death, the deceased was drawing a salary of Rs 2,500 per month while working for the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.
The Commissioner had taken this salary as the base for giving a reimbursement of Rs 2.02 lakh to the applicant, including of funeral expenses.
Further, the appeal was disposed off in favor of the applicant; the judge improvised the compensation from Rs 2.02 lakh to Rs 3.22 lakh after stating that, “It is the duty of the employer to pay the minimum wages fixed under the Act from time to time. But when the wage paid is less than the minimum wage, the minimum wage should be considered as wages for compensation.”