CANTEEN ALLOWANCE PART OF BASIC WAGES FOR PROVIDENT FUND DEDUCTION
In a judgment dated 22.7.2013 in a writ petition filed by Whirlpool India Ltd. challenging the order of EPF Authority under section 7-A of the Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’) wherein it has been held that the canteen allowance of Rs.300 per month being paid to employees out of settlement dated 13.10.1995 will be ‘basic wages’ to attract EPF contributions. The petitioner filed an unsuccessful appeal before the EPF Appellate Tribunal against the order dated 28.7.1999 which was dismissed by the Tribunal by order dated 27.12.1999.
The petitioner filed a writ petition before the High Court challenging the order under section 7-A of the Act as well as that of the EPF Appellate Tribunal. While dismissing the writ petition, as filed by the petitioner, the High Court referred the Gujarat High Court judgment in Gujarat Cycromet Ltd. (2004 III CLR 485) wherein it has been held that except HRA, all the allowances will be treated as basic wages for attracting contribution. The High Court relied upon the landmark judgment of Bridge & Roof Co. Ltd. (5 FLR 423) wherein it has been held that “whatever allowances are payable to all the permanent employees would be included in the definition of basic wages and those which are not paid/payable to all employees are excluded there-from.”
The whole judgment is not being reported keeping in view that the Supreme Court judgment for clarification of allowances, which was fixed in the month of September, will now be heard in the month of October, 2013.