Amidst the growing crisis owing to COVID-19 pandemic, there are restrictions on the movement and deployment of workers and most certainly a shortage of workers in factories.
Realizing this, several States have gone ahead and granted temporary exemptions to factories which have been allowed to operate amidst the lockdown (as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs) from provisions relating to weekly and daily hours of work etc. of adult workers under the Factories Act, 1948 (“Act”). In addition to the States which have already issued such exemption, Assam too has gone ahead and announced exemptions related to extending the working hours for optimum utilization of labour under Section 65 (2) of the Act.
The exemptions have been granted for a period of 3 months w.e.f. August, 2020 to October, 2020 to deal with the exceptional pressure of work during the peak of the manufacturing season.
In a nutshell, the provisions which are being exempted are as follows:
Section 51 – Prescribes a maximum of forty-eight (48) hours of weekly work;
Section 54 – Prescribes a maximum of nine (9) hours of daily work;
Section 56 – Prescribes the periods of work to be arranged so that it does not spread over more than 10.5 hours a day (inclusive of intervals for rest);
The conditions for availing the above-mentioned exemption are as follows:
i. Ensure that the total number of hours of work does not exceed twelve (12) on any day;
ii. the spread over (inclusive of intervals of rest), does not exceed thirteen (13) hours on any day;
iii. total number of weekly hours of work should not exceed sixty (60);
iv. ensure that workers are not allowed to work overtime, for more than seven (7) days at a stretch;
v. ensuring that the total number of hours of overtime work for any worker in a quarter does not exceed seventy five (75) hours;
Source : Chief Inspector of Factories, Assam