Q: I used to work for a public sector enterprise. I retired in August this year after serving the company for more than 16 years and have received all my retiral benefits excepting gratuity. As per my computation, the amount that the company offered to pay me on account of gratuity is substantially less than what I feel I am entitled to. I was agreeable to accept the amount without prejudice and under protest, but the management did not agree and insisted that I accept the amount in full and final settlement of my gratuity dues. As a result my gratuity has been withheld. I dont want to give in to the pressure of the company. Please advise me as to what my rights are in law and what I should do.
Ajay Banerjee, Barasat
A: Under section 7 of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, the employer is obliged to arrange to pay to the person entitled the amount of gratuity within 30 days from the date on which it becomes payable, which in your case should be the date of your retirement. If there is a dispute as to the amount of gratuity payable, the employer is required to deposit with the Controlling Authority constituted under the said Act, such amount as the employer admits to be payable as gratuity. Then on an application made by the employer or employee or any other person raising the dispute, the Controlling Authority shall after due enquiry and after giving the parties to the dispute a reasonable opportunity of being heard, determine the dispute and if any amount is found payable to the employee, shall direct the employer to pay such amount after giving credit for the amount already deposited by the employer. Any amount deposited with the Controlling Authority shall be paid to the employee concerned forthwith.
Any person aggrieved by an order made by the Controlling Authority may, within 60 days from the date of receipt of the order, prefer an appeal to the appropriate Government (defined in section 2(a) of the Act) or such other authority as may be specified by the appropriate Government in this behalf. Section 8 of the Act prescribes that if the employer does not pay the amount of gratuity payable under the Act within the prescribed time to the person entitled, the Controlling Authority shall, on an application made to it in this behalf by the aggrieved person, issue a certificate for that amount to the Collector, who shall recover the same along with compound interest thereon from the date of expiry of the prescribed time, as arrears of land revenue and pay the same to the person entitled thereto. In light of the above, in my opinion you should approach the Controlling Authority and seek appropriate relief.
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