Govt extends work timings of factory workers by four hours




With COVID-19-related restrictions affecting the functioning of factories in the state, the government has extended by four hours the work timings of factory workers in local industrial units.

Factory hours have been extended to 12 hours from eight hours presently for the period up to September 30, and with immediate effect.

The inspectorate of factories and boilers on Tuesday issued an order saying that in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis there are restrictions on movement of workers leading to shortage of workers and causing factories in the state to deal with exceptional pressure of work.

The extension in working hours of factory workers is by relaxation in certain provisions of the Factories Act, 1948, says the order.  It says that the relaxation is granted under the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and for optimum utilisation of workers.

The guidelines say that during the period of extended factory hours, the COVID-19 protocols pertaining to social distancing, sanitisation, etc, shall be continued to be strictly followed.

This is the second time during the pandemic that factory hours in the state are being extended. Previously in April 2020, factory hours were extended for a period of three months on demand from local industry and in line with similar extensions taking place in states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, etc.

Further on July 30, 2020, the extension order was withdrawn and factories reverted back to eight working hours. 

The present order is subject to conditions that are similar to what was issued in 2020.  The extended factory timing is granted on condition that the 12-hour working shift must be spread and inclusive of rest. It must not exceed 13 hours in a day.

The other conditions include total hours in a week including overtime shall not exceed 60, no worker shall be allowed to work overtime for more
than seven days at a stretch and the total number of hours of overtime in any quarter shall not exceed 75 and no worker must work more than five hours before he has had an interval for rest for at least half hour.

The extension order is also subject to condition that when a worker works in a factory for more than 48 hours in any week he shall be entitled to overtime at the rate of twice his ordinary rate of wages under Section 59 of the Factories Act.