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Minimum Wage in India

Minimum wage in India is a widely discussed topic, as it directly affects the livelihood of millions of workers across the country. India offers one of the most competitive labor costs in Asia, with the national-level minimum wage currently set at around INR 178 (USD 2.16) per day, amounting to INR 5,340 (USD 65) per month. It is important, however, to recognize that this is the floor level wage, and wage rates can vary depending on factors such as geographical location, skill level, and industry.

The Minimum Wages Act (1948) governs the concept and implementation of minimum wages in India, providing guidelines for the determination of wages for different classifications of workers. Under this act, both the Central and State governments hold the authority to set and revise minimum wages based on a schedule of employments, resulting in disparities in wages across different states and union territories. Furthermore, the Act mandates the inclusion of Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA), which is revised periodically to offset the impact of inflation on workers’ incomes.

Key Takeaways

  • India’s national-level minimum wage is INR 178 (USD 2.16) per day, with variations based on geographical location and skill level.
  • The Minimum Wages Act (1948) governs wage determination, allowing both Central and State governments to set and revise wages.
  • Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA) is included to offset inflation’s impact on workers’ incomes, and is revised periodically.

The Concept of Minimum Wages

The concept of minimum wages refers to the lowest remuneration that an employer must legally pay their workers. It is a standard set to protect the rights and well-being of workers, ensuring that they receive fair compensation for their labor. In India, minimum wages are regulated under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. However, determining minimum wage rates in India can be complex, as they vary depending on several factors, such as the state, region, industry, skill level, and nature of work.

A crucial aspect of understanding minimum wages is acknowledging the difference between minimum wage, fair wage, and living wage. The minimum wage is the legal lowest limit that employers must pay their workers, while a fair wage is a just and equitable wage that takes into account various factors such as productivity, industry profitability, and cost of living. A living wage, on the other hand, is a wage that allows workers to attain a decent standard of living, covering their basic needs and providing them some discretionary income.

The primary objective of minimum wage regulations is to ensure that workers receive a wage amount that at least covers the basic essentials of life, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Furthermore, it aims to preserve the efficiency and well-being of the workers, making it essential for maintaining a stable and productive workforce. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948, governs the process of determining, reviewing, and enforcing minimum wages in India.

One critical aspect of Indian minimum wage regulation is the periodic revisions and adjustments made to the rates, considering the fluctuations in the cost of living and other economic factors. Both the Central and State Governments have the authority to fix and revise minimum wages from time to time as per the provisions of the Act.

The concept of minimum wages plays a vital role in ensuring that workers in India receive fair compensation, safeguard their rights, and maintain productivity levels while contributing to the country’s overall economic growth. The effectiveness of minimum wage regulations often relies on the proper enforcement and consistent review of these rates, in line with the ever-changing economic landscape.

The Minimum Wages Act and its Provisions

The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 was introduced in India to ensure a basic standard of living for workers by fixing a minimum wage rate. This Act gives both the Central and State governments jurisdiction in fixing wages, making it a crucial part of the Indian labor law landscape.

This Act strives to protect unorganized and marginalized workers from exploitation. It comprises several essential provisions – fixation of minimum wage rates, payment of minimum wages, working hours determination, and addressing wage-related claims. Both skilled and unskilled workers engaged in various sectors can benefit from the implementation of these provisions.

The penalty for non-compliance with the Minimum Wages Act is stringent. Employers who fail to adhere to the stipulations are liable to face a monetary fine or even imprisonment. The severity of punishment depends on the nature of the violation. Punitive measures ensure that organizations honor the provisions laid down in the Act.

The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 plays a vital role in safeguarding workers’ interests and ensuring fair treatment in the workplace. It holds employers accountable and contributes to the alleviation of poverty among the working class in India.

Variations in Minimum Wages by Skill Level

In India, minimum wages are influenced by various factors such as region, industry, and nature of work. One key aspect that affects minimum wage rates is the skill level of workers. The minimum wage structure in India can be broadly categorized into four major groups based on the skill level: unskilled workers, semi-skilled workers, skilled workers, and highly skilled workers.

India minimum wage variate per skill level

Unskilled Workers

Unskilled workers are those who do not possess any specialized skills, knowledge, or training for their jobs. These workers usually perform manual labor or basic tasks. The national-level minimum wage for unskilled workers in India is approximately INR 178 (USD 2.16) per day, which translates to a monthly wage of INR 5,340 (USD 65). However, the actual wage rate may vary across different geographical areas and industries.

Semi-skilled Workers

Semi-skilled workers have acquired some skills or training required for their jobs but do not have complete mastery over them. Some examples of semi-skilled jobs include machine operators, drivers, and sales representatives. Minimum wages for semi-skilled workers tend to be higher than those for unskilled workers to reflect their additional skills and experience. The exact value of the minimum wages for this category is subject to changes depending on location and the specific job role.

Skilled Workers

Skilled workers have a higher level of expertise and training in their respective fields. They possess the knowledge and skill set to perform specialized tasks with minimal supervision. Skilled professions include carpenters, electricians, and computer technicians. Minimum wages for skilled workers are higher than those for semi-skilled and unskilled workers, considering their expertise and training. As always, actual minimum wages for skilled workers may vary according to their region and industry.

Highly Skilled Workers

Highly skilled workers possess advanced skills, knowledge, and experience in their respective fields. These professionals typically have specialized certifications or higher educational qualifications. Some examples of highly skilled professions include engineers, doctors, and software developers. The minimum wages for highly skilled workers are the highest among the four categories and vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and the level of education or experience of the worker.

Minimum Wages in Different States

India’s minimum wage regulations are quite complex, as they differ across states and are categorized based on factors such as region, industry, skill level, and the nature of work. In this section, we will provide an overview of the minimum wages in some Indian states and union territories.


In Delhi, the minimum wage rates differ based on the skill level of the worker. As of October 2023, the wages for unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled, and highly skilled workers are as follows:

  • Unskilled workers: ₹14,052 per month
  • Semi-skilled workers: ₹15,472 per month
  • Skilled workers: ₹16,962 per month
  • Highly skilled workers: ₹18,642 per month

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh’s minimum wage rates vary depending on the industry and skill level of the worker. For example, in the construction industry, the minimum wages per day are:

  • Unskilled workers: ₹318
  • Semi-skilled workers: ₹372
  • Skilled workers: ₹464
  • Highly skilled workers: ₹616

Arunachal Pradesh

In Arunachal Pradesh, the minimum wage rates per day for workers in various industries are:

  • Unskilled workers: ₹225
  • Semi-skilled workers: ₹270
  • Skilled workers: ₹300
  • Highly skilled workers: ₹390


Assam’s minimum wages also differ based on the industry and nature of work. In the tea industry, the minimum wage is ₹167 per day for plantations workers.


In Bihar, the minimum wage rates per day are as follows:

  • Unskilled workers: ₹234
  • Semi-skilled workers: ₹242
  • Skilled workers: ₹274
  • Highly skilled workers: ₹331


Chandigarh’s minimum wage rates differ based on the skill level of the worker, with rates per day as follows:

  • Unskilled workers: ₹318
  • Semi-skilled workers: ₹362
  • Skilled workers: ₹408
  • Highly skilled workers: ₹472


Chhattisgarh’s minimum wages across industries have variations based on the skill level of the worker, with rates per day as follows:

  • Unskilled workers: ₹247
  • Semi-skilled workers: ₹242
  • Skilled workers: ₹304
  • Highly skilled workers: ₹401

Daman and Diu

Daman and Diu’s minimum wage rates per day are:

  • Unskilled workers: ₹301
  • Semi-skilled workers: ₹363
  • Skilled workers: ₹404
  • Highly skilled workers: ₹463

For more information on minimum wages across other states and union territories, refer to their respective government websites. It is crucial to stay up-to-date with changes in minimum wage rates, as they can greatly impact businesses and employees in India.

Union Territories and Minimum Wages

In India, Union Territories are also subject to minimum wage regulations. These regulations impact the labor force and overall economic development in these territories. It is essential for businesses operating in these areas to be aware of the minimum wage rates to ensure compliance and fair treatment of their employees.

Union Territories in India have different minimum wage structures that depend on the skill level and the nature of work. For instance, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu have implemented a daily minimum wage increase that ranges from INR 441 (US$5.34) to INR 462 (US$5.60) depending on the skill level. This increase ensures that workers in these regions receive an income that is aligned with the cost of living.

Furthermore, minimum wage policies implemented in Union Territories aim to target the vulnerable bottom rung of wage earners, driving up aggregate demand and fostering a sustainable and inclusive growth as mentioned in the Economic Survey of India. Ensuring the effective implementation of minimum wage policies is crucial in achieving economic development.

It is important for businesses operating in India’s Union Territories to keep up to date with the minimum wage regulations and adapt their payment structures accordingly. This not only ensures compliance with the law but also contributes to the well-being of their workforce, ultimately leading to increased productivity and overall business success.

Recent Updates and News

In recent times, there have been significant developments regarding minimum wage policies in India. The government has been working on revising and streamlining minimum wage rates to ensure better pay and living conditions for the workforce.

In February 2023, All India Coal Workers’ Federation (AICWF) disclosed that it was awaiting approval from the Department of Public Enterprises on a recommended 19% wage hike for coal workers. This recommended increase has the potential to greatly impact the lives of coal workers in India.

The Gujarat government has recently announced an increase in the minimum wages by almost 25% for skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled laborers. This increase led to a rise of more than Rs 2,400 per month in their wages. The announcement was made in the state assembly in March 2023.

The National Floor Level Minimum Wage in India remained constant at 178 INR per day in 2023, showing no change from the previous year. However, this figure has seen a significant increase over time, with a low of 35 INR per day in 1997 and an all-time high of 178 INR per day in 2019.

To make the rural job guarantee scheme more effective, a high-level government panel has called for an increase in wage rates and the budgetary allocation for the program. This proposal is aimed at improving living conditions and opportunities for those involved in the rural job sector.

These recent events point towards a growing focus on improving minimum wage policies in India. As such, the government is taking necessary steps to ensure better pay and living standards for workers across various industries and sectors.

National Floor Level Minimum Wage

The National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMW) in India serves as a benchmark for ensuring a standard baseline for minimum wages across the country. It is important to note that the NFLMW is not always the same amount as the minimum wage, but rather provides a guide for setting regional and state-specific minimum wages. In 2023, the NFLMW is 178 Indian rupees per day, which has remained consistent for the last few years.

While the NFLMW is set at a national level, minimum wages in India can vary based on factors such as geography, industry, type of employment, and skill levels. Consequently, the minimum wage in different states and regions may be higher or lower than the NFLMW, depending on the local economic conditions and factors.

India National Floor Level Minimum Wage
India National Floor Level Minimum Wage - Trading Economics

As part of its efforts to periodically update the minimum wage, the Indian government established an Expert Committee to evaluate and recommend changes. In 2019, the Expert Committee recommended a national minimum wage rate of Rs. 375 per day or Rs. 9,750 per month, along with an additional housing allowance of Rs. 1,430 for workers living in urban areas. Although this recommendation has not yet been implemented, it highlights the ongoing efforts to ensure fair wages for workers in India.

In conclusion, India’s National Floor Level Minimum Wage serves as a guiding figure for regional and state-specific minimum wages, promoting fair wages and contributing to the overall well-being of the country’s workforce

Variable Dearness Allowance

Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA) is an essential component of the minimum wage structure in India. It aims to help workers cope with the ever-changing cost of living due to inflation. The Central Government revises the VDA rates every six months, effective on 1st April and 1st October, to accommodate the rising prices as per the Consumer Price Index for Industrial workers.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment has periodically announced revised VDA rates to benefit workers in the central sphere. For instance, a hike in variable dearness allowance was announced in 2021, raising the monthly allowance from 105 to 210 for central government employees. This increase impacted the wages of about 1.5 crore workers, improving their financial stability.

VDA is critical for employees working in scheduled employment, as it ensures their salaries remain effectively competitive with the increasing economic demands. It’s crucial to note that the revised VDA directly impacts the minimum wages of workers in various sectors across the country.

The Variable Dearness Allowance plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the financial welfare of the workforce in India. Regular revisions ensure that the workers’ incomes remain pertinent and adequate in an evolving economic landscape.

Impact and Statistics

India’s minimum wage varies across states and industries. It is aimed at ensuring that workers receive fair pay for their labor and safeguarding their rights to a decent standard of living. Although the implementation of minimum wage might lead to positive outcomes for employees, the impact on employment remains a subject of debate.

According to a guide to minimum wage in India, India has an average monthly wage of INR 46,861 (US$566) as of May 1, 2023. The rates differ based on the industries, with higher salaries reported in professional services such as software and consultancy work.

A study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) assessed the impact of minimum wages on wages and employment across selected Indian states and industries. Despite the positive outcome for the workers, industries might experience varying levels of job creation and overall employment.

In terms of job quality, labor market security, and social protection, the India Wage Report provides valuable insights based on the first comprehensive labor force survey conducted in 2018-19. The survey encompasses aspects like employment, unemployment, underemployment, wages, working hours, and conditions.

The Minimum Wages Act, 1948, serves as a landmark legislation in India for regulating wages. The Act strives to fix minimum wage rates in certain employments, ensuring fair remuneration for workers. More information on wage rates and regulations can be found at WageIndicator.org.

In conclusion, minimum wage implementation in India contributes to protecting the rights of workers and fosters a healthy work environment. However, its impact on job creation and employment remains a complex issue that requires ongoing assessment and research.

Role of Central Government

The Central Government plays a vital role in determining the minimum wages for employees across India. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 empowers the government to fix and revise the minimum wages for specified employments. The Act ensures that minimum wage revision occurs at suitable intervals not exceeding five years Chief Labour Commissioner.

Minimum wage rates in India vary depending on multiple factors such as the state, area within the state based on development level (zone), industry, occupation, and skill level. In addition to these factors, the government takes into account the current cost of living and other socio-economic conditions to determine appropriate minimum wage rates India Briefing News.

For instance, as of April 1, 2023, the Central Government established different minimum wage rates for varying categories and areas, such as sweeping and cleaning India Briefing News. The area classification system divides regions into Area A, Area B, and Area C based on their development level and socio-economic conditions.

These comprehensive guidelines established by the Central Government enable businesses to adhere to fair labor practices and ensure that employees across India receive appropriate compensation for their work, irrespective of their job type or location. It is crucial for both employers and employees to be aware of the central government’s role in determining minimum wages to maintain compliance and understand their rights and responsibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

In India, the national-level minimum wage is around INR 178 (US$2.16) per day as a floor-level wage. However, it's essential to note that the minimum wage differs based on geographical areas and other criteria. For accurate and updated information, refer to the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

The minimum monthly wage in India for 2023 is approximately INR 5340 (US$65). This amount is based on the national-level minimum wage per day. However, the actual monthly wage may vary depending on the location, industry, and skill level of the workers. For a more comprehensive understanding, consult the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

The minimum wage per hour in India is not explicitly provided due to the daily wage system set by the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. To calculate an hourly wage, you can divide the daily wage by the standard number of working hours. It is important to check state-specific regulations and the type of work involved for accurate rates.

The minimum wage in Delhi tends to be higher compared to other cities in India due to its status as a metropolitan city and the higher cost of living. The minimum wage rates vary across different sectors, industries, and skill levels of workers. For an up-to-date comparison, refer to the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

The country with the highest minimum wage in the world in 2023 might fluctuate due to changes in the global economic landscape. As of now, countries such as Australia, Luxembourg, and France are known to have high minimum wages. For current and accurate information on global minimum wages, consult the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The equivalent of India's minimum wage in USD, considering the national-level minimum wage of INR 178 per day, is approximately US$2.16. This conversion is based on the current exchange rates, and it's essential to understand that exchange rates are subject to fluctuations.

Travis is a global business development advisor. He has spent the last 14 years supporting business establishment and development in North America, Southeast Asia, and throughout the world. With multiple degrees from the University of Oregon, Travis currently splits his time between the US, and Bali, Indonesia. At RemotePad, Travis writes about remote work, hiring internationally and PEO/EOR business models.