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Benefit Of Gratuity Act Cannot Be Denied To An Employee By Designating Him As A Trainee : Kerala HC

An employee cannot deny the benefit of Gratuity Act to an employee by designating him/her as trainee while extracting regular work from him, the Kerala High Court has observed. Justice AM Badar observed that a trainee is not excluded from the definition of the term ’employee’ under the Gratuity Act, but only an ‘apprentice’ is excluded. The court observed thus while dismissing a writ petition filed by IREL (India) Limited/employer which had challenged an order passed by Controlling Authority under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 by contending that trainee or learner is in fact an apprentice and therefore, not an employee as defined by Section 2(e) of the Gratuity Act. Their case was that the employee was not entitled for payment of gratuity for the initial period of two years when he was appointed as a trainee which is equivalent to his appointment as apprentice. A Karnataka High Court judgment was relied upon by the employer to contend that in the absence of any statutory provision under the Gratuity Act which could be pressed into service, a trainee cannot be entitled to gratuity.

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