Cap on weekly working time retained, spread-over time hiked to 12 hours in draft rules

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |

November 21, 2020 1:09:07 am

In the OSH Code, handed in Parliament in September, the day by day working hour restrict had been set at eight hours. (Source: Pixabay)

The authorities has proposed to enhance the utmost restrict for potential working hours or spread-over time to 12 hours from 10.5 hours earlier in the draft rules for Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH) Code. The weekly cap of working hours, although, has been retained at 48 hours in the rules.

“No worker shall be required or allowed to work in an establishment for more than forty-eight hours in any week. The period of work of a worker shall be so arranged that inclusive of his intervals for rest, shall not spread over for more than twelve hours in a day,” the draft rules mentioned. In the OSH Code, which was handed in Parliament in September, the day by day working hour restrict had been set at eight hours.

Experts mentioned the extension in the spread-over time could have antagonistic penalties on the employees. “The increase in spread-over time from 10 ½ hours as in the Factories Act, 1948 to 12 hours in the Rules could have some adverse consequences for the workers. By making 12 hours as a spread-over time, employers will be incentivised to keep the workers on worksite for the entire period. But one does not know what the workers will be expected to do for 90 minutes of extra time? If the employers keep the workers for the full 12 hours and if we include travel time which in metros would easily be another 60 minutes, then the work-life balance of the workers will be adversely affected. Also, it will incentivise the employers to go for two shifts in place of three shifts. Then, employment numbers might also probably decline,” XLRI Professor KR Shyam Sundar mentioned.

The draft rules have additionally prescribed situations for journey allowance for inter-state migrant staff stating that the allowance can be offered provided that the employee has labored for a interval of not lower than 180 days in the involved institution throughout the previous 12 months. This is anticipated to lead to exclusion of numerous migrant staff as they don’t work with longer tenure work contracts.

“…it will be hard to implement and will even affect employment chances by another employer should the worker leave the previous employer in the middle of the eligible period for journey allowance or may be forced to work for the original employer to be able to avail the allowance,” Sundar mentioned.

The draft rules, which have been positioned in public area for 45 days, additionally suggest a single nationwide licence for contractors and organising of security committees for institutions using over 500 for regular ones and over 250 for these participating in hazardous processes, a measure which specialists mentioned may exclude numerous staff in smaller institutions.

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