The government has withdrawn its own earlier order directing employers to pay wages to workers, even with units remaining shut during lockdown.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued a fresh set of guidelines in which it has repealed the order dated March 29, 2020, which had talked about compulsory wage payment to workers during lockdown. The developments come two days after Supreme Court asked the government not to resort to any coercive action against private companies who have not paid their workers full wages during the lockdown in accordance with a government order in March.

A three-judge Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao had then indicated that payment of full wages, as directed by the MHA may not be viable for small and private enterprises, which themselves are tottering on the brink of insolvency due to the lockdown. Some small units may not have been able to survive a fortnight into the lockdown. The court remarked that the March 29 order was an omnibus one and there were several issues involved that required careful reconsideration from the government side.