BENGALURU - The southern state of Karnataka is the first in India to allow round-the-clock production with two 12-hour shifts, akin to the practices of factories in China.
The state’s legislature passed a law on Feb 22 to amend the Factories Act, increasing the time an employee can work on the shop floor from nine hours in a day to 12 hours, with breaks, and not exceeding 48 hours a week. The law now allows an employee to work at a stretch for six hours a day without a break.
The new labour law amends the permissible amount of overtime from 75 hours to 145 hours across a three-month period.
In addition, it permits women to work in night shifts, which is barred in most of India. Women can now work between 7pm and 6am, but it is subject to getting their written consent and safety measures employers have to take, such as sexual harassment prevention, transport facilities at night, restrooms and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
The new rules make Karnataka’s labour regime the most flexible in the country, which its Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar said will “create more economic activities, employment opportunities, and hopefully attract foreign manufacturers” as well as local ones to invest in the state.
The amendment follows lobbying efforts by Apple and the company’s giant manufacturing partner, the Taiwanese company Foxconn, to make labour codes in India more industry-friendly while they set up factories here, reported the Financial Times on March 10, citing sources.
Apple has been shifting production away from China after the country’s strict Covid-related restrictions disrupted the manufacturing of new iPhones and other de...