The Karnataka government on Friday allowed an increase of working hours from eight to 10 hours for factories, as part of its plan to amend labour laws and resurrect businesses in the state that have been impacted due to the lockdown.
The notification comes amid deliberations by the B.S.Yediyurappa-led state government to further amend labour laws to actively seek out investments and help revive the state’s fledgling economy.
In a notification on Friday it said that factories registered under the Factories Act of 1948 "shall be exempted from the provisions of Section 51 (weekly hours) and Section 54 (daily hours)" that will be in effect for a period of three months.
"No adult worker shall be allowed or required to work in a factory for more than ten (10) hours in any day and sixty (60) hours in any week," the notification added. However, it said that overtime wages shall continue to be applicable without change.
A senior government official said that though many companies were already functioning with higher work hours but needed the same in writing.
“Double overtime wages will still be in effect," he said.
With no funds coming in from the centre and the two months of lockdown exhausting major revenue sources, the Karnataka government, like its counterparts, are trying to amend labour laws to attract investments. The Karnataka government is already deliberating on relaxing laws governing minimum wages, increasing current overtime working hours to 100 hours per quarter from 72 hours, and easing compliance with key labour legislations to help resurrect industries.
Several states have taken similar steps to help industries make up for lost time.
The move by states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh among others has attracted sharp criticism by workers and trade union activists among others who said it would only add to exploitation of labour at the hands of the employers.