The government on Wednesday introduced in Parliament a Bill to amend the Factories Act, 1948, with a view to double overtime hours in an establishment with 10 or more workers, to 100 per quarter. The aim is to enhance employment opportunities and facilitate the ease of doing business.
The Bill also proposes to further increase the maximum overtime hours to 125 hours in a quarter under exceptional circumstances in public interest.
Proposing these and several other amendments that would improve labour-market flexibilities, the government had in August 2014 introduced the Factories (Amendment) Bill. The department-related standing committee filed its report on the Bill in December 2014, and this is currently under examination.
In the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said since the passing of the (original) Bill may “take some more time”, it has been decided to amend sections 64 and 65 (relating to overtime) urgently to extend the total number of hours of work on overtime.
“The need for increasing the total number of hours of work on overtime in a quarter is based on the demand from industries so that factories can carry out the work on urgent basis,” he said.
Labour ministry sources said around 1 crore workers would be benefited with the proposed amendments of the provisions of the Bill.
It would also help industrial clusters like Tirupur which often faces skill gap.
The Bill also proposes to empower the central government — in addition to the state governments which already have this power — to make exempting rules and orders in respect of total number of hours of work on overtime in a quarter, which would ensure uniformity in its application by various state governments and Union Territories.