Labour Ministry Proposes 12 Working Hours, Higher Than 8 Hours/Day In OSH Code Passed By Parliament

The labour ministry, in a draft notification, has notified rules allowing 12 working hours a day, higher than nine allowed earlier, including one hour of rest. The employment draft rules, notified for the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH & WC), says daily working hours can extend up to 12 hours. The OSH & WC rules will supersede 13 existing central labour law rules. However, like earlier, these draft rules say no worker should be required or allowed to work in an establishment for more than 48 hours in any week. “The period of work of a worker shall be so arranged that inclusive of his intervals for rest, shall not spread over for more than twelve hours in a day,” the draft rules state. The ministry has now sought views from stakeholders on these draft rules in 45 days.  Along with OSH & WC, the ministry has also put forward draft rules for all four labour codes. The Centre aims to pass them by January. The draft rules of OSH & WC also says those working overtime in a week must be given double the wage. “In pursuance of Section 27 of Code, wherein an establishment a worker works for more than eight hours in any day or for more than forty-eight hours in any week, as the case may be, he shall in respect of such overtime work be entitled to wages at the rate of twice his ordinary rate of wages and shall be paid at the end of each wage period,” the draft notification says. In calculating overtime on any day, a fraction of an hour between 15 to 30 minutes shall be counted as 30 minutes, and in case of more than 30 minutes, it shall be rounded and shall be counted as an hour on an actual basis, it adds. For calculating wages for workers paid by the month, the daily wages shall be 1/26th of his monthly wages, it adds. Recently, several states, including Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, introduced laws to enhance work hours to 12 to recover the losses incurred during the coronavirus-infused lockdowns. The measure was necessitated to boost output amid limited workforce.

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