The term “daily wager” is not defined in any statute, according to the argument. However, the concept of the same, as well as the occurrences thereof, has been well-recognized by the courts in several judgments. State of Punjab v. Jagjit Singh[1] and also in Govt. of National Capital Territory of Delhi v. Shyam Babu,[2] it was held:

A daily wager is only employed for the duration of that day, and his services may be terminated at the end of that day.

In Sharada v. Common Cadre Authority[3], the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka held:

“The petitioners ask permission to continue working in the representation for daily pay. Only when there is labour is a daily wager used. We can’t keep working with him if we don’t try.”

A review of the aforementioned decisions would simply explain the entire scope of the idea of a ‘daily wager.’ To recap, a daily wager is a person who is employed by an employer on a day-to-day basis, meaning that his employment begins at the start of the day and ends at the end of the day, with pay accruing at the end of each day’s work. As a result, neither the employer nor the employee is obligated to continue working after that day, even if the employer requests it. The employee and the worker do not have a contract of employment in place, and they are not on the company’s muster roster.


The Minimum Wages Act of 1948 is a federal law that sets minimum wages for workers. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 is an Act of Parliament that governs Indian labour law and establishes the minimum wages that must be paid to both skilled and unskilled workers. The main provision of the Act is Section 12 (1), which deals with the onus of paying minimum wages to employees. For the sake of suitability, the same is replicated:

  1. Payment of minimum rates of wages. – (1) When a scheduled employment notification under section 5 is in effect, the employer is required to pay each employee who is scheduled to work for him wages that are at least as high as the minimum rate of wages set by the notification for that class of employees in that employment, without making any other deductions unless specifically permitted to do so within the timeframe and under the conditions that may be prescribed.

It is important to highlight that only ’employees’ are paid the minimum wage amount. Aside from the daily wager, there are a few other questions that come up:

  1. Is it true that the phrase “workers” includes daily wagers, or are they excluded?
  2. Is it true that temporarily employed/contractual individuals are entitled to the same pay as permanent employees? Is it true that under the Minimum Wages Act, daily wagers are entitled to minimum wages?

In question (a), there is no direct authority (c). There is no authority on whether or not the phrase “employees” includes daily rate workers, and whether or not the Act applies to them. The Act has defined the term ‘Employees’ as ‘any person who is employed for hire or rewards to do any work, skilled or unskilled, manual or clerical, in a scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed …’[4] As a result, it’s unclear if the term “employees” includes contractual workers and daily wagers based on the definition. However, in terms of labour law in general, particularly when it comes to emoluments and compensation, the concept of an “employee” that has developed has not been favourable to daily wagers. An examination can be prepared of the following abstract from Nand Kumar v. the State of Bihar[5], though the same doesn’t relate to Minimum Wages Act:

The Repeal Act’s Section 6 has made it plain that the employees of the Board and the appellants cannot be deemed to be of the same status and cannot benefit from the provision established in Section 6(i) of the Repeal Act, 2006. We have further analysed the case of the appellants in light of this. We cannot, therefore, accept the argument that the daily wagers would likewise fall under the definition of “all officers and employees” as specified in Section 6 of the Repeal Act. We determine that the appellants’ position was still that of daily bettors. They cannot be regarded as long-term public servants. It cannot be stated that the status of daily-wage workers may enjoy or gain the same status as that of regular workers.

However, there is a trail of authority holding both affirmative and negative positions on the question (b). Initially, the courts held that daily wage workers did not have the same right to equal pay as permanent employees. The Respondents in State of Haryana v. Jasmer Singh[6] were engaged by the State as Mali-cum-Chowkidars/Pump Operators on a daily salary basis. The Respondents requested that, based on the principle of “same pay for equal work,” they be paid the same wage as that paid to regularly employed employees holding equivalent roles in the State of Haryana’s services. The Supreme Court held that-

“Since the respondents in the current appeals are employed on a daily salary, they cannot be compared to people holding comparable posts in the State of Haryana’s regular service. Daily-rated employees are not required to meet the age requirements at the time of recruiting, to meet the qualifications requirements for regular employees, or to have the specified regular employees. They are not chosen in the same way that ordinary employees are. In other words, there are less stringent standards for selection. There are additional rules pertaining to regular service that daily-rated workers are not subject to, such as the obligation of a service member to be transferred and his submission to the authorities’ disciplinary authority. They cannot, therefore, be compared to ordinary workers in terms of pay. Additionally, they are not eligible to receive the minimum of the regularly employed group’s wage scale.”

Author’s Name: Pranjal Patel (Institute of Chartered Financial Analyst of India)


[1]  (2017) 1 SCC 148

[2] 2006 SCC OnLine Del 1636

[3] [2013 SCC OnLine Kar 583]

[4] MWA 2(i)

[5] 4  (2014) 5 SCC 300

[6]  (1996) 11 SCC 77

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to know the latest updates

Whoops, you're not connected to Mailchimp. You need to enter a valid Mailchimp API key.