LS clears bill to facilitate more overtime for workers

RSTV Bureau
Workers in a factory in Neemrana, Rajasthan.

Workers in a factory in Neemrana, Rajasthan.

Seeking to boost job creation in manufacturing sector and facilitate ease of doing business, the Lok Sabha Wednesday 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 Congress and Left parties staged a walkout. Besides, Congress, the bill was opposed by Left parties, TMC, JDU and 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 exeed 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. 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 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 quarter is based on the demand from industries so that factories can carry out the work on urgent basis,” said the statement of objects and reasons.

Dattatreya said the government is going with innovative method in creating employment opportunities and 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 compulsoru upon him or her. It is an incentive to get double wages,” he said.