The government of Karnataka through notification No. KAE 33 KABANI 2020, dated May 22, 2020 (the "Notification"), has exempted all factories registered under The Factories Act, 1948 (the "Act") from complying with the provisions relating to weekly and daily hours, with effect from May 22, 2020 to August 21, 2020. This exemption from the provisions of Section 51 (Weekly Hour) and Section 54 (Daily Hour) of the Act shall be available as long as no adult worker is allowed or required to work in a factory for more than 10 hours in any day and 60 hours in any week. The provisions regarding overtime wages, as contained in Section 59 of the Act, shall continue to be applicable without any change.
We highlight below the implications of this Notification.
The Notification is applicable to all factories in the state of Karnataka where a "Factory" means any premises including its precincts, where ten or more workers are working (or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months) and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on or is ordinarily so carried on, with the aid of power, or where twenty or more workers are working (or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months) and a manufacturing process is being carried on, or is ordinarily so carried on without the aid of power.
The Notification lays down the following directions with respect to all Factory workers, with specific reference to their working hours and overtime payments:
(i) Extension of maximum permissible daily working hours from 9 hours to 10 hours a day;
(ii) Extension of maximum permissible weekly hours from 48 hours to 60 hours in a week;
(iii) Any overtime wages shall continue to be applicable at twice the normal wages for hours exceeding 9 hours in a day and 48 hours in a week; and
(iv) Where an employee is working in a Factory, while he is allowed to work for 10 hours daily and 60 hours in a week, he shall be entitled to overtime wages at twice the normal wages for every hour worked more than 9 hours in a day and 48 working hours in a week.
The Notification by the government of Karnataka relaxes the previous regulations relating to the daily and weekly working hours of all Factory workers in the state of Karnataka. This short term relaxation in working hours will allow the employers and Factory owners to opt for longer daily and weekly working hours in their Factories, providing them with an opportunity to attempt to narrow the gap in their productivity levels created due to the COVID-19 crisis, while ensuring that the Factory workers are appropriately compensated and they face no negative impact with respect to their entitlements for overtime wages.
4. INDUSLAW VIEW
While this Notification provides a financial opportunity for both employers and employees during this unprecedented situation, it also places a heavier burden of longer working hours on Factory workers. Given that, safeguarding the payment of overtime wages becomes crucial so that no employee is in a position where overtime compensation guaranteed under law is denied.
Originally published 28 May 2020
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