Govt open to 4-day work week, but with cap on total hours at 48

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 08, 2021

Under the proposed regime, safety and health facilities for contract workers will be at par with permanent employees   -  The Hindu

However, working hours will remain unchanged

Soon a company may be able to offer four-day work week to its employees. But this flexibility will come with some conditions, according to the Labour Ministry. Currently, the usual work week is of 5 or 6 days. However, the total working hours will remain unchanged.

“We are open to providing flexibility in working days,” Labour Secretary Apurva Chandra told media here on Monday. If a company offers a 4-days work week, then the remaining three days should be paid offs, he said adding that the issue of flexibility in working days is being discussed ahead of the finalisation of Rules for new the Labour Codes.

The government has already indicated that it can implement all the four Labour Codes — Wages, Industrial Relations, Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions and Social Security — before the start of the new financial year. All these have been enacted and draft Rules and draft model Standing Orders are already up for discussion.

Chandra said that even with the flexible work week, the conditions related to weekly working hours will remain the same. The draft Rules for Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code says no worker will be required or allowed to work in an establishment for more than 48 hours in a week. Also, the period of work shall be inclusive of intervals for rest, and shall not exceed 12 hours in a day.

Contract workers

The Secretary expressed confidence that proposed regime under the new Labour Codes will have a lot for contract workers. Safety and health facilities for contract workers will be at par with permanent employees. “There will be a grievance redress mechanism for such workers,” he said. For the social security of gig/platform workers, he said, “All tech platforms are on board for a social security fund. They are keen to have such a fund.”

Earlier, the Social Security Code proposed a Social Security Fund for gig/platform workers where the employers are expected to contribute 1-2 per cent of the annual turnover or 5 per cent of the liability of the aggregator to gig workers and platform workers, whichever is lower. Now, it will be 1 per cent of the revenue. Also, workers will contribute a minimum of ₹100 a month. The fund is expected to provide social security benefits to nearly 1 million workers.

Labour Survey

Chandra said that four major surveys on migrant, domestic, transport and professional workers are expected to kick-off in March. Though their periodicity has not been fixed, they “could be yearly exercises,” he said.

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Published on February 08, 2021
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