Lower house of Indian Parliament passes bill to double overtime hours for factory workers

New Delhi, India Published: Aug 10, 2016, 03:10 PM(IST)

The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was opposed by several opposition parties, and was passed after the Congress and Left parties staged a walkout. Photograph:( Others )

Seeking to boost job creation in the manufacturing sector and facilitate ease of doing business, the Lok Sabha today approved a Bill to double the overtime working hours to 100 in a quarter for factory workers.

The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was opposed by several opposition parties, was passed after the Congress and Left parties staged a walkout. Besides Congress, the bill was opposed by Left parties, the Trinamool Congress, the Janata Dal (United) and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)

Piloting the bill, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the changes in the law would enable workers to "work more and earn more".

Contending that the bill will safeguard workers' interests, he said the total number of work hours in a day will not exceed 10 and total hours of work in a week after including overtime should not exceed 60.

"Overtime is only an opportunity. I have taken many safeguards. The proposed amendment is nowhere in conflict with the ILO norms and all provisions relating to daily or weekly hours. The total number of overtime shall not exceed 100 hours in a quarter," Dattatreya said.

The current rules provide for overtime of 50 hours in a quarter, while the ILO provides for an upper limit of 144 hours.

Citing statement of objects and reasons of the bill, the opposition parties said the bill was being brought at the behest of the industry.

"The need for increasing the total number of hours of work on overtime in a quarter is based on the demand from industries so that factories can carry out the work on an urgent basis," said the statement of objects and reasons.

Dattatreya said the government is going with an innovative method in creating employment opportunities and a large number of women workers will also get additional work.

"The proposal to increase overtime hours is not at all mandatory. It is up to the workers to decide. It is not compulsory upon him or her. It is an incentive to get double wages," he said.

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