Average working hours of employees in India are among the longest compared to global peers, according to a report by the National Sample Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in 2018. Workers in Indian cities worked for 53-54 hours and those in villages worked 46-47 hours in a week. The survey also indicated that rural women were underemployed, as nearly 50 percent of them worked less than 36 hours in a week. Men in cities worked for comparatively longer hours – often in the range of 60-84 hours per week. The report also stated that most employees in India work for more than 48 hours a week — higher than the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s prescribed time-limit.
Generally, as per the applicable law, all commercial establishments should maintain certain permitted opening hours (for eg: 8.30am to 9.30pm). Secondly, no employee shall be required to work for more than 9 hours in any day and 48 hours in any week. An employee may be allowed to work in excess of the limit specified above, if such period does not exceed 6 hours in any week with additional payment.
As per the Factories Act 1948, every adult (a person who has completed 18 years of age) cannot work for more than 48 hours in a week and not more than 9 hours in a day. According to Section 51 of the Act, the spread over should not exceed 10-1/2 hours.
Where an employee works for more than nine (9) hours in any day or for more than forty-eight (48) hours in any week he shall in respect of such overtime work be entitled to wages at twice’ the rate of normal wages. “Normal wages” means the basic wages plus such allowances but does not include a bonus [Section 8 of the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961].
Night shifts: If a woman employee is employed for night-shifts i.e. between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., the employer needs to provide transport facilities from the residence to workplace and back, free of cost and with adequate security [Section 25 of the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961 read with Government of Karnataka (Dept. of IT) Circular dated 15.10.2015]. The Circular provides for a list of compliance if a woman employee has to work in night shifts.