Govt. to allow up to 12 hours of work in factories, women on night shifts

Allowing women to work on night shift comes with many riders related to safety and consent

Updated - February 22, 2023 10:04 pm IST

Published - February 22, 2023 09:16 pm IST - Bengaluru

Employees at work at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Plant at Bidadi Industrial Area near Bengaluru.

Employees at work at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Plant at Bidadi Industrial Area near Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: File Photo

The Factories (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2023, was adopted in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, to allow for increasing the number of hours of work from the existing nine to up to 12, inclusive of rest intervals, subject to a maximum of 48 hours in any week. This is “to create more economic activities and employment opportunities,” stated the Bill.

It would also enable female employees to be employed on night shifts, after obtaining written consent from those who are interested to work in night shifts and ensuring safety measures.

The Bill would allow the State government to extend the total number of hours of work, without an interval, to six hours to any group or class or description of factories to facilitate increase in the daily maximum hours of work.

Overtime wages

The Bill would allow the government to prescribe hours of work in any day or in any week, above which overtime wages at the rate of twice the ordinary wage, is payable to workers. It would enable the factories to engage workers overtime from an increased period of time in a quarter “to deal with exceptional press of work.”

The Bill would enable the employment of women workers on overtime work, “providing for quality and equal opportunity to work and earn”, and also enable employment of women around the clock, subject to safety and health of the women working in night shifts. This has to be done after obtaining written consent from the woman workers interested.

It would allow workers to work nine hours a day, 48 hours in a week and work six days in the week. It would also enable workers to work 10 hours a day and 48 hours a week, by working five days a week. It would allow more than 11.30 hours a day, four days in a week or work on paid holidays.

Conditions for night shift

The Bill would enable factories to hire women workers to work from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. subject to various conditions. These include setting up of a complaint redressal mechanism in the factory, sufficient number of restrooms, transportation facility, and proper lighting and CCTV. Women workers are to be employed in a batch not less than 10 and there should be security at the entry and exit points. There can be no change of shifts except after a weekly holiday or any other holiday.

There are also guidelines for employing drivers who ferry women. It says factory should obtain bio-data of each driver and conduct pre-employment screening of antecedents. There is a condition on non-disclosure of address and phone numbers of women workers and the Bill states that no woman employee should be picked first and dropped last.

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