The Karnataka Legislative Assembly in its 15th (fifteenth) session, vide notification (LA Bill No. 04 of 2023) dated February 22nd, 2023, passed the Factories (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2023 (“Bill”) amending various provisions under the Factories Act, 1948 (“Act”) pertaining to daily hours, intervals for rest, spread over, extra wages for overtime, power of government to make exempting orders and restriction on employment of women.
Presented below is a comparative analysis between the provisions of the Act and the amendments proposed under the Bill:
- According to the existing Act, the total number of working hours of an adult worker in a factory are limited to 9 (nine) hours in any day, which now, as per the Bill is proposed to be extended up to 12 (twelve) hours per day including interval for rest in any day, subject to worker’s consent for the work assigned to him, and the remaining days of the said week for the worker shall be paid holidays.
- The prevailing Act states that every worker shall be at least given a mandatory half hour rest for every 5 (five) hours of work. However, under the Bill, the total number of hours of work of a worker has been extended to 6 (six) hours without an interval.
- Currently under the Act, the spread over time including the interval for rest is not more than 10.5 (ten point five) hours in any day, which now stands increased up to 12 (twelve) hours inclusive of intervals for rest, under the Bill.
- As per the Act, the overtime pay for a worker working beyond 9 (nine) hours a day or for more than 48 (forty-eight) hours a week, is twice his ordinary rate of wages. However, under the Bill, the number of working hours entitling such worker for such overtime pay have been categorized as follows, where a worker works:
-for more than nine hours a day or more than forty-eight hours a week, working for six days in any week;
-for more than ten hours a day or for more than forty-eight hours a week, working for five days in any week; and
-for more than eleven and a half hours a day working for four days a week or works on paid holidays.
- The operational Act restricts the total number of hours of overtime work in any quarter to 75 (seventy-five), which has now under the Bill been enhanced to 144 (one hundred and forty-four) hours, subject to the written consent of such worker.
- Presently, the Act prohibits women workers to work in any factory before 6:00 (six) AM and after 7:00 (seven) PM. However, under the Bill, a woman may be required or allowed to work in any factory beyond 7:00 (seven) PM or before 6:00 (six) AM, subject to her written consent and such employer committing to the following safety measures:
– Preventing or deterring the commission of acts of sexual harassment;
– Providing transportation vehicle equipped with CCTV camera and GPS from residence and back during night shift;
-Employing women workers in a batch of at least 10 (ten);
-Providing 12 (twelve) consecutive hours of rest or gap between the shifts;
-Providing sufficient women security and rest rooms;
-Maintaining a complaint redressal mechanism ensuring time-bound treatment of complaints.
The Karnataka Government has proposed the aforesaid modifications in the Bill with a view to not only create more economic activities and employment opportunities but also provide equal opportunity of work to women workers in the state. The Bill upon becoming the law would be symbiotically beneficial for women workers and for those employers who are planning on employing such women workers on night shifts in the factory. Therefore, employers who fulfill the conditions stipulated under the Bill will be able to easily get women workers discharge their respective duties.
It is interesting to note that the amendments brought about in the Bill aim towards balancing the rights of both the employer as well as the worker and it also seems to align with the objective of the labour codes which are yet to be implemented by the Government of India.