New draft job code allows for 12 working hours a day

Srishti P
·4 min read

The Ministry of Labour and Employment has notified rules allowing 12 working hours a day, higher than the 9 hours a day allowed earlier, including one hour of rest.

The draft job code says:

  • The period of work of a worker shall be so arranged that inclusive of his intervals for rest, it shall not spread over for more than 12 hours in a day.

  • No worker shall be required or allowed to work in an establishment for more than 48 hours in any week.

  • The period of works of workers shall not exceed 5 hours and that no worker shall work for more than 5 hours before he has had an interval for rest of atleast half an hour.

The working hours in a day may be modified so that the total number of working hours in a week shall be so fixed and followed.

The employment draft rules, notified for the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH & WC), will supersede 13 existing central labour law rules.

The draft code, however, clarifies that no worker should be required to or allowed to work for more than 48 hours a week.

The labour ministry has sought feedback of stakeholders over the next 45 days on the draft rules under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH) Code, 2020.

The feedback can be provided within 45 days starting Thursday (November 19). Thereafter, the ministry would finalise the rules to implement the OSH Code.

The government has put out draft guidelines for all of the four labour codes and goals to finalise them in January, thus paving the way for the implementation of the codes from April 1, 2021.

'The Ministry of Labour and Employment has notified the draft rules under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, on November 19, 2020, inviting objections and suggestions, if any, from the stakeholders,' the ministry statement said on Friday.

According to the statement, the objections and suggestions are required to be submitted within 45 days from the date of notification of the draft rules.

The draft rules provide for operationalisation of provisions in the Code related to safety, health and working conditions of the dock workers, building or other construction workers, and mines workers, among others.

Overtime

The draft rules of OSH & WC also says those working overtime in a week must be given double the wage.

‘In pursuance of Section 27 of Code, wherein an establishment a worker works for more than 8 hours in any day or for more than 48 hours in any week, as the case may be, he shall in respect of such overtime work be entitled to wages at the rate of twice his ordinary rate of wages and shall be paid at the end of each wage period,’ the draft notification says.

It provides that for calculating overtime on any day, a fraction of an hour between 15 to 30 minutes shall be counted as 30 minutes. Currently, less than 30 minutes is counted as no overtime.

Appointment letter

Also, the draft rules provide for appointment letter in prescribed format including designation, category of skill, wages, avenue for achieving higher wages or higher position to every employee of an establishment within three months of coming into force of the rules.

According to the draft rules, no employee shall be employed in any establishment unless he has been issued a letter of appointment.

Payment of wages

Rules regarding payment of wages to contact labourers provide that the contractor shall fix the wage periods and no wage period shall exceed one month.

Besides, the wages of every person employed as contract labour in an establishment or by the contactor shall be paid before the expiry of seventh day after the last day of the wage period.

It also provides the wages shall be disbursed through bank transfer or electronic mode only.

Health and safety

It also made provision for annual health examination to be conducted by the employer free of cost for every worker of factory, dock, mine and building or other construction work, who has completed 45 years of age.

Provision has also been made in the rules for journey allowance once a year.

It also provides for single electronic registration, licence and annual integrated return for an establishment.

Under the rules, safety committees have been made mandatory for every establishment employing 500 or more workers to provide an opportunity for the workers to represent their concern on occupational safety and health matters.

Rules have been provided for composition and functions of safety committees.

The rules has been made regarding conditions related to safety of women employment in all establishment for all type of work before 6 am and beyond 7 pm with their consent.

Mines rules have also been simplified and integrated with the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions rules.

Contractor

An all-India single licence for contractor supplying or engaging contract labour in more than one state for five years has been provided as against work order-based licensing at present.

Prohibition of employment of contract labour for core activity of an establishment and classification of core and non-core activities, are also provided in the OSH Code.