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Labour codes: Centre to allow 4-day work week

Labour codes: Centre to allow 4-day work week

The Union government will soon offer companies the flexibility to choose a shorter four-day work week, albeit, with longer shifts, The Mint reported.

According to the labour secretary Apurva Chandra, the weekly 48-hour work limit will stay but employers will be able to deploy people on four, 12-hour workdays per week; or five, around 10-hour days; or six, eight-hour days.

"We are not forcing employees or employers. It gives flexibility. It's an enabling provision in sync with the changing work culture," Chandra told reporters on Monday.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Chandra said the draft rules under the labour codes are being finalised. He added that most states were in the process of framing their rules and some, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, would be ready with their drafts this week.

The provision will be a part of the labour code, and once the new rules are implemented, employers will no longer be required to seek government permission to shift to a four- or a five-day working week if their employees approve the arrangement.

Chandra said that employers will have to ensure that if they choose a four-day work week, there has to be a three-day break, and if it is a five-day week, two days of break before starting a new work week has to be implemented.

Once the new labour code is in place, experts opined that employers will have the freedom to choose to have 8 to 12 hours workdays, based on demand, industry and location.

"It shall also benefit a new generation of workers who value 'me time' and would prefer working long hours for fewer days to get an extra off. Besides, foreign firms will be the first to adopt it as this will reduce their real estate expenditure at one end and improve productivity of workers on the other. The covid-19 work culture has given companies a proof of concept and its adoption won't be tough," The Mint quoted Karanth, a former managing director (India) of global staffing firm Kelly Services as saying.

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