Restriction on overtime hours in industries may go

Regular hours of working to remain 48 a week; 10 hrs of OT a week likely

The present prescribed upper limit of working hours including an hour of OT, is nine hours a day. However, total number of regular working hours will remain at 48 hours a week.

The proposed amendments are to Section 54, 56 and 65 of the Act. When the Act is amended, a factory can allow OT up to 10 hours a week. Employees get double the wages for additional hours of work they put in.

Sources in the Labour Department said factories have been demanding relaxation of restriction on OT hours. Once the new rule comes into effect, factories will be exempted from taking permission from the Labour Department to allow employees work for 10 hours of OT a week.

Another proposed amendment seeks to allow factories to increase the total OT hours to 22 hours instead of 10 hours now. However, for this seeking Labour Department’s permission is mandatory. If the amendment becomes law, the total number of regular working hours will remain at 48 hours but OT hours permitted will go up to 22 hours. There has been demand from many MNCs and automobile industries to increase the upper limit of OT hours, the sources said.

The ceiling of 48 hours for regular working hours has been retained to ensure that workers get paid for their OT without ambiguity in law, the sources added.

Yet another amendment proposed will help workers of cotton ginning, iron roll factories and other establishments to get an extra hour of rest on a working day. At present, employees work for eight hours with 90 minutes of rest interval in certain specified industries. If the Act is amended, workers will get two and half hours to three hours break a day, according to sources.

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