Karnataka proposes to relax Factories Act Provisions to encourage manufacturing

Karnataka proposes to relax Factories Act Provisions to encourage manufacturing

Karnataka state has proposed toextend the working hours for workers by up to 12 hours a day but  cap the maximum weekly work hours to 48. Further, rules are being eased to allow night-time work for women.

These changes come after the state legislature passed the Factories (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2023 to relax the Factories Act, 1948 provisions that applies to factories in Karnataka.

The Factories (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly without debate and was opposed by members of the Congress and JDS political parties as well as a member of the governing party, the BJP. The amendment bill was subsequently passed in the upper house of state, the Legislative Council, amid a walkout by opposition parties.

Also read: 36% of senior positions in India’s mid-market held by women: Report

The amendments are among a wish list of reforms sought by industries  and international firms like Apple and Foxconn. Foxconn, a major component supplier for Apple products, operates assembly plants in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu and was recently in discussions to set up a new 300-acre factory in Karnataka.

AS per proposed amendments, the maximum work hours for workers in Karnataka industries will be 12 hours in a day but capped at the same 48-hour work week.

This means workers can put in 4-day or 5-day work weeks while more flexibility is available for the management of daily production lines.

Overtime hours limit has also been raised from 75 hours to 145 hours during a three-month period. Finally. women will now be allowed to work night shifts – from 7pm to 6am.The Karnataka government has backed these changes as necessary for the state to be more competitive when seeking foreign manufacturing investments.

To address these apprehensions, the Karnataka Law Minister J. C. Madhu Swamy said that the amended law did not impose 12-hour workdays or make it compulsory for industries in the state and is, in effect, meant to ‘facilitate agreements between industry and labour’.

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