Govt considers giving companies flexibility to have four-day work week

Labour and Employment Secretary Apurva Chandra outlined the key budget announcements for migrant workers and labourers in a press conference recently
Representative Image | Pic: pxhere
Representative Image | Pic: pxhere

The proposed labour codes could provide companies with the flexibility of four working days in a week, even as the working hours limit of 48 hours for a week will remain sacrosanct, said Labour and Employment Secretary Apurva Chandra on Monday. Chandra during a press conference on Monday outlined the key budget announcements for migrant workers and labourers, where he said, "48 hours a week (work) will remain sacrosanct, that cannot exceed." "During the tripartite discussion, concerns about working hours going up by 12 hours were raised. An employer may provide for the 5-day working week. We have tried to bring in flexibility by correcting 12-hour work day. Changes will be shared in the final list. There is the binding of 12 per cent employee contribution and 12 per cent employer contribution for wage of Rs 15,000 or below. Anybody contributing beyond that is a voluntary contributor, there is no legal binding on that," he said.

The official said that the labour ministry has taken concerns into account and have tried to make some changes. "But along with that, we have also tried to give flexibility in working days because 10.5 hours or 8 hours a week would effectively be for a six-day working week," said Chandra on the rules that are being finalised on labour laws. "But it is possible that an employer may provide for a five-day working week and I have come across employers who say that we want even a 4-day working week. We have tried to bring in some flexibility into the workdays," he added.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment in a press release dated February 8 had said the rules for four (4) labour codes are already underway and likely to complete in the coming week. All stakeholders are also consulted in the framing of rules, the release said. According to the release, the labour ministry would soon be in a position to bring into force the four Codes, viz., Code on Wages, Industrial Relations, Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions and Social Security Codes. The release also informed about the launch of portal for the unorganised labour, adding that the work on setting up of the portal by this Ministry is progressing as per the schedule. "portal will collect relevant information on gig, building and construction workers, among others. It will help to formulate Health, Housing, Skill, Insurance, Credit and food schemes for migrant workers," the release said. The portal will be rolled out by May/June 2021 for registration and other facilities of workers in the unorganised sector, including gig and platform workers and migrant workers.

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