Change in Working Hours: New Labour Law Draft Rules, 2020

working hours

The Central Government through its notification dated 19th November 2020 released draft rules proposing a change in working hours, wages, and other norms for employers and organizations. These rules are called Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Condition (Central) Rules, 2020. The government is seeking objections and suggestions from stakeholders, employers, and organizations for 45 days, after the expiry of 45 days government will publish the final draft of the rules for the whole of India. 

The Central Government made these rules in exercise of the powers given under section 133 and 134 of the Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code, 2020 read with section 24 of General Clauses Act, 1897. This code will replace the following acts: 

  • The Dock Workers (Safety, Health, and Welfare) Rules, 1990;
  • The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Services) Rules, 1998;
  • The Model Factories Rules;
  • The Mines Rules, 1955;
  • The Mines Rescue Rules, 1985;
  • The Mines Vocational Training Rules, 1966;
  • The Pithead Bath Rules, 1959;
  • The Mines Crèche Rules,1966;
  • The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Central Rules, 1971;
  • The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Central Rules, 1979.
  • The Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Rules, 1957;
  • The Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Rules, 1984;
  • The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1976

Working Hours for Workers

The government through this draft rules proposed new daily and weekly working hours. As per the proposed rules:  

  • Workers will not work for more than 48 hours a week in an establishment. 
  • The period of work including the resting time will not spread over for more than 12 hours in a working day. 
  • The work period will not exceed 5 hours before the worker is given a rest of at least half an hour. 
  • The worker will not be allowed to work overtime for more than 125 hours in any quarter of a year. 

Working Hours for Journalist

The number of working hours (exclusive meal time) for journalists will not exceed 6 hours on the day shift and 5.5 hours on the night shift. The journalist will not work for more than the constituted working hours in a day. The journalist will not work the night shift for more than one week in any 14 days. 

The journalist will be given rest for one hour on the day shift and 30 minutes on the night shift. If the journalist is working for more than 6 hours on day shift and 5.5 hours on night shift then rest will be given for the extra hours worked. 

The working journalist will be given 10 holidays in a calendar year and will be entitled to wages on all the holidays. If the journalist works on a holiday then he will be given a compensatory holiday within 30 days following the day of the holiday. 

In case of change of shifts from night shift to day shift or from day shift to night shift, there should be a gap of not less than 24 hours between the two shifts. 

Quarantine Leave for Journalist

The newspaper establishment will provide quarantine leave on full wages based on the certificate issued by the Medical Practitioner. The quarantine period should not exceed 21 days or in exceptional cases 30 days. The leave taken for quarantine purposes will be adjusted against leaves due to the working journalist. 

The application for quarantine leave will be made within one month before the commencement of leave. 

The journalist will be required to produce a medical certificate of fitness before resume his duties again. The medical certificate should be issued by a qualified Medical Practitioner or Medical Officer. 

Wages for Overtime 

If the worker works for more than 8 hours in any day or more than 48 hours in a week, the worker will be paid twice the ordinary wage at the end payment period. While calculating the overtime in a day, 15 to 30 minutes will be counted as 30 minute and in case of overtime of more than 30 minutes it will considered as an hour. Under the current system, less than 30 minutes are not counted as overtime.

As per the rules, the spread over for the worker may exceed more than 12 hours in a day under the following circumstances: 

  • Urgent repairs;
  • Work like preparatory or complementary work;
  • Work which is necessarily so intermittent that the intervals during which they do not work while on duty
  • Ordinarily, amount to more than the intervals for rest;
  • Work which for technical reasons must be carried on continuously;
  • Engaged in making or supplying articles of prime necessity which must be made or supplied every day,
  • Engaged in a process which cannot be carried on except during fixed seasons;
  • Engaged in a process which cannot be carried on except at times dependent on the irregular action of
  • natural forces;
  • Engaged in an engine-rooms or boiler-houses or in attending to power-plant or transmission machinery;
  • Engaged in process on account of the break-down of machinery;
  • Engaged in the loading or unloading of railway wagons or lorries or trucks;
  • Exceptional press of work and
  • Engaged in any work, which is notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette as a work of national importance;

Written by Hardik Tokas

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