Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Karnataka government on Friday issued a notification allowing factories to extend working hours up to 10 hours a day and 60 hours a week till August 21.
The extension of work hours is from the current eight hours a day and 48 hours a week. "In exercise of powers conferred under Section 5 of Factories Act, 1948 (Act No.63 of 1948), the Government of
Karnataka is pleased to order that all the factories registered under Factories Act, 1948 shall be exempted from the provisions of Section 51 (weekly hours) and Section 54 (daily hours), and with effect from 22-05-2020 to 21-8-2020," the notification said.
It, however, has laid certain conditions, under which, no adult worker shall be allowed or required to work in a factory for more than ten hours in any day and sixty hours in any week.
Provisions of Section 59 regarding overtime wages shall continue to be applicable without any change, it said.
Several states, including Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, have already extended working hours aimed at helping industries. This is expected to boost manufacturing and supply of essential goods and services without violating the home ministry’s guidelines on working with reduced staff to maintain social distancing to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The move by the Karnataka government to extend working hours has come amid speculations that it was mulling over amending some labour laws aimed benefiting industries whose operations have taken a hit because of COVID-19 lockdown.
However, in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government withdrew its controversial order of 12-hour shifts for workers in industrial units, against the usual 8-hour day, after a notice from the Allahabad High Court.