An Introduction to Overtime in India
By A&A LAW
Overtime refers to the time worked in excess of ones’ regular working hours which, in India, is eight to nine hours per day and forty eight to fifty hours per week, depending upon the establishment one is employed under. If a person works for longer than the regular working hours, that person is eligible to receive remuneration for that period, which will be twice the persons’ normal wage.
Overtime Laws in India
Several statutes regulate overtime and overtime payment, and different legal acts provide for respectively different periods of working hours. However, the working hours prescribed under the Factories Act, 1948 is taken as a standard period. Under Section 51 of the Factories Act, employees are not supposed to work for more than 48 hours in a week, and under section 59, for not more than nine hours a day. The time worked in excess of these 48 hours per week and nine hours per day will be counted as overtime under the Act, and will require the employer to pay workers twice the standard wage.
Section 14 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 states that after an employee is paid his or her minimum wage for a fixed period, they are required to be paid extra as an overtime rate.
Under section 33 of the Mines Act, 1952 if any mine worker works for more than nine hours above the ground and more than eight hours below it in a day or works for more than 48 hours in a week anywhere, whether above or below, he or she is entitled to be paid twice the ordinary wage for the extra time that was worked. Also, the act does not allow anyone to work for more than ten hours in a day, inclusive of overtime under Section 36.
Under section 17 and 18 of the Bidi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966, no one is to work for more than ten hours a day and fifty-four hours a week, including overtime. Similarly, under the Plantation Labour Act, 1951, if one works for more than the normal number of hours, he or she is to get overtime wages.
Overtime Laws for Women and Children
The Factories Act, 1948 restricts the employment of women between 7:00 pm and 6:00 am, which can be relaxed by the Chief Inspector of factories in certain cases. If such a relaxation of stipulated working hours exceeds the normal period of working hours, employees will be eligible for overtime compensation. Even then, this relaxation is still time sensitive, that is, women cannot be required to work between 10:00 pm to 05:00 am.
Under the same Act, Section 75 specifies that no child below 14 years of age can be employed in any factory. A child above fourteen who is eligible to work in a factory cannot be allowed to work for more than four and a half hours in a day and cannot work between 10:00 pm and 6:00am. In addition, a female child is not allowed to work in any factory, except between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm.
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It is seen that in many employment agreements, there is a clause, which states that the workers must/may be required to work overtime. However, working overtime should be voluntary and not forced through an agreement. It should be the employee who should decide whether they want to do overtime or not.
Where the employer asks for overtime, it should generally be in special circumstances, such as to meet the sudden increase in demand. Even in that case, the employees should not be forced to do overtime.
Every establishment should have a register of overtime, containing the details of the worker, the extra time he or she has given to work, and the calculation of overtime amount due to be paid to the worker.
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