Withdrawal of relaxations for increase in working hours for factories

Aliff FazelbhoySenior Partner, ALMT Legal, Advocates & Solicitors


In a bid to boost the Indian economy which has been on standstill due to the lockdown for pandemic COVID-19, many state governments have initiated labour law relaxations for factories by issuing executive orders. These relaxations have increased the maximum permissible working hours that a worker is required to work in a day and subsequently in a week subject to certain conditions.

However, certain states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka & Rajasthan have consequently withdrawn the orders for relaxations provided to the factories.

States that have/ had extended working hours of workers in a Factory Some of the states that have/ had issued labour law relaxations permitting the factories registered under the Factories Act, 1948 to extend the working hours are as follows:

 State Notification No.  Valid till 
 Maharashtra 2020/3749/1 dated 8 May 2020  30 June 2020 
 Gujarat GHR/2020/56/FAC/142020/346/M3 dated 17 April 2020  19 July 2020 
 Karnataka No.KAE 33 KABANI 2020 dated 22 May 2020  21 August 2020 
 Madhya Pradesh 247-220-A-XVI dated 22 April 2020  23 July 2020  
 Uttar Pradesh No. 13 /2020/ 502 /XXXVI-03-2020- 30 (Sa.)/2020TC dated 8 May 2020  19 July 2020 
 Rajasthan F.3(15)/Legal/F&B/2020/188 dated 11 April 2020  11 July 2020 
 Odhisa LL2-FE-0003-2020 2716/LESI dated 8 May 2020  8 August 2020 
 Haryana 2/17/2020-2lab dated 29 April 2020  30 June 2020  
 Punjab 21/07/2015-5L/103 dated 20 April 2020  20 July 2020  
 Goa CIF/092(Part-2)/S-II/IFB/2020/191 dated 8 May 2020  31 July 2020 
 Assam GLR.170/2019/Pt./4 dated 8 May 2020  8 August 2020 
 Uttarakhand  VIII/20-91(Labour)/2008 T.C-1 dated 28 April 2020 and 5 May 2020 28 July 2020 
 Himachal Pradesh Shram (A)4-3/2020 dated 21 April 2020  20 July 2020  
 Tripura F.2(345)-FB/EoDB(Vol-II)/2015(Part)/189-96 dated 9 May 2020  21 August 2020 
The above mentioned states have increased the working hours for the workers to not more than 10-12 hours a day and not more than 60-72 hours a week. The relaxations pertaining to working hours are subject to certain conditions such payment of wages for overtime (either proportional or as per the Factories Act, 1948), lunch breaks/ interval of rest, spread over, condition of female working hours, etc.

Withdrawal of Relaxations
Certain states have consequently withdrawn the relaxations provided to the factories with respect to increase in working hours of the workers as follows:

•  Uttar Pradesh: Due to widespread public criticism and a notice from the Allahabad High Court, the state government cancelled the notification no-13 /2020/502/ XXXVI-03-2020- 30(Sa.)/2020TC vide notification No. 15/2020/511/XXXVI-03-2020-30 (Sa.)/2020TC dated 15 May 2020.
•  Karnataka: The government of Karnataka issued a notification bearing number No. KAE 33 KABANI 2020 dated 11 June 2020 to withdraw the relaxations with immediate effect as stated in the earlier notification No.KAE 33 KABANI 2020 dated 22 May 2020.
• Rajasthan: The State of Rajasthan withdrew the relaxations as provided in the notification F.3(15)/Legal/F&B/2020/188 dated 11 April 2020 vide Notification No. 3(15)/Legal/F&B/2020/301 dated 24 May 2020.

ALMT Analysis
Factories in states which have withdrawn the labour relaxations will now be required to comply with the working hours as prescribed under the Factories Act, 1948 and other applicable laws. The workers and the trade unions seem to welcome such move by the respective state governments. However, for the remaining states where the relaxations continue to apply, it is possible that similar withdrawal orders may be expected in the near future.


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