New Delhi: In a significant development the Labour Ministry has raised the cap of maximum working hours from eight to 12 hours in a day inclusive of intervals under the draft rules on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH) Code 2020 passed earlier this year by Parliament.
However, the weekly working hours limit has been fixed at 48 hours (six days X eight hours, with one weekly off) under the draft rules notified on November 19, 2020.
This has drawn flak from many corners because the OSH Code passed by Parliament provides for maximum eight working hours in a day.
"This has been done keeping in mind the extreme climatic conditions across the country where work scheduled is spread through the day. Besides this will allow workers to earn more through overtime allowance," a senior labour ministry official told PTI.
The official further said, "We have made necessary provision in the draft rules so that all workers working beyond eight hours get overtime."
As per draft rules on OSH Code, in calculating overtime on any day, a fraction of an hour between 15-30 minutes shall be counted as 30 minutes.
At present, less than 30 minutes is not counted as overtime in the existing legal framework.
The draft rules say: "No worker shall 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."
As per the draft, no worker will work for more than five hours before he has had an interval for rest of at least half an hour.
Rules also provide that the working hours in a day can be modified subject to weekly cap of 48 hours.
The OSH Code as passed by Parliament says: "No worker shall be required or allowed to work, in any establishment or class of establishment for more than eight hours in a day and the period of work in each day under clause (a) (eight hours) shall be so fixed, as not to exceed such hours, with such intervals and spread overs , as may be notified by the appropriate Government."
The proposal is likely to draw strong protest from the labour unions who are already in resentment due to various pro-establishment laws.