ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A 70-hour Workweek?

Rather than increasing work hours, the focus should be on improving labour productivity. 

The current debate in the national media about the need for increasing working hours comes at a time when demand for a shorter workweek resonates around the world. This debate was kicked off when a doyen of industry suggested that young people should be ready to work 70 hours a week to aid development. This suggestion is not new, as a similar demand had been made in 2020 to increase work time to a minimum of 64 hours a week to compensate for the loss of output during the pandemic.

However, the call for increasing working hours is not confined to just a few large employers. Many states amended the Factories Act, 1948 during the lockdown to increase the maximum number of working hours from eight to 12 per day and the maximum working hours per week from 48 to 72. These states include Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Odisha. A few months back, Tamil Nadu had introduced an amendment (which was later withdrawn) to the Factories Act, 1948 to increase the duration of factory shifts from nine to 12 hours a week. Similarly, Karnataka had also legislated (and also later withdrawn) to allow for 12-hour factory shifts sometime earlier. The reason cited for extending factory shifts is the need to run the factories round the clock using two shifts to beat the global competition.

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Updated On : 25th Nov, 2023
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