Temporary Amendments to Provisions under State Labour laws in the wake of COVID-19 – India
Labour law has undergone various changes all across the globe due to the pandemic COVID 19. The Union and State government of India has also brought amendments in Labour Laws to relax certain regulations concerning working hours, overtime wages, etc to provide employment opportunities and uplift the economy of the country through the commencement of businesses.
Many state governments have carried out temporary modifications in Labour Laws in areas such as working time, daily hours, overtime wage rate, etc, subject to certain conditions.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh passed an Ordinance on May 8, 2020, aiming to suspend various labor laws such as the Minimum wages Act, Weekly Holidays Act, etc, applicable to all factories and establishments related with the manufacturing process for a temporary period of 3 years. This has been issued subject to fulfillment of certain conditions such as –
- The names and details of the employed workers shall be maintained in a physical register;
- No worker shall be paid less than the minimum wages as may be prescribed by the State Government;
- The workers shall not be allowed to work for more than 11 hours per day and the total working hours including overtime shall not exceed 12 hours a day.
The Government has issued a notification applicable to all factories working in the Union Territory via a notification dated June 03, 2020. The order contains the change in provisions relating to daily hours, weekly hours, etc.
The Government has issued a notification dated June 03, 2020, which proposes changes in the Factories Act of 1948 with respect to daily working hours, overtime wage rate, etc. The notification allows for an increase in daily hours of workers in the factories from 9 hours to 12 hours and the weekly working hours from 48 hours to 72 hours. Also, a woman worker shall not be allowed or required to work between 7 pm until 6 am.
The Government has maintained the provisions relating to overtime as provided in the Factories Act, 1948. The overtime shall be paid at twice the regular rate of wages for working beyond the 9 hours. This amendment shall remain effective until the expiry of 3 months from the date of issue of the notification.
The Gujarat Government passed an Ordinance which allows exemptions to all factories registered under the Factories Act, 1948. The following have been amended via the notification which shall remain effective until October 19, 2020 –
- The weekly working hours have been increased to 72 hours and daily hours should not be more than 12 hours.
- A worker shall be allowed to rest for at least half an hour if he/she has worked for at least 6 hours a day.
- No female worker shall be allowed to work in a factory between 7 pm to 6 am.
- The overtime shall be paid at the normal rate of wages as compared to the double rate of wages provision in the Factories Act of 1948.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
The Administrator has passed a notification on 23rd July 2020, exempting all the factories in the Union Territory from the provisions of the Factories Act of 1948 relating to daily hours, weekly hours, weekly holidays, and overtime. The order shall remain effective until the expiry of 2 months from the date of the issue. Following changes have been brought via the Notification:
- The total daily hours shall not exceed 12 hours.
- The overtime performed by an employee inclusive of the rest shall not exceed 13 hours in any day.
- The weekly hours including the overtime shall not exceed a total of 60 hours.
- No worker shall be allowed to work for more than 7 days at a stretch and the total number of hours for overtime work shall not exceed 75 hours in a quarter.
- A worker who has completed 5 hours of work shall be allowed at least half an hour break.
- A worker who works for more than 48 hours in a week shall be paid overtime at double the rate of regular wages.
Note: Similar labor law amendments passed by other State Governments in the past, have been published under global compliance update dated June 2, 2020.