The Karnataka government has brought out significant changes to the Factories Act, 1948 by Amendment Act of 2023. The Amendment Act empowers the government to extend the maximum hours of work per day to twelve hours (inclusive of interval for rest), subject to maximum of 48 hours per week, in respect of any group or class or description of factories on such conditions as it may deem expedient, subject to the written consent of such worker for such work. The government may also by notification extend the total number of hours of work of a worker without an interval to 6 hours in respect of any group or class or description of factories on such conditions as it may deem expedient.
Further, the government may by notification in the Official Gazette increase the spread over up to 12 hours inclusive of his intervals for rest in respect of any group or class or description of factories on such conditions as it may deem expedient. The overtime work has been extended from 75 hours in a quarter to 144 hours and written consent of the worker is required before overtime work.
Further, it has allowed women to work between 7 PM to 6 AM in any factory with their consent to work in night shift, provided that the employer complies with certain conditions including prevention, deterrence of sexual harassment and mechanism for resolution and prosecution of sexual harassment, appropriate working conditions including hygiene, safety, security and leisure. The employer is also required to provide transportation facilities to the women workers where the vehicle is equipped with CCTV camera and GPS and must hire drivers only after appropriate screening and collection of biodata. The routes are to be selected in such a manner that no women employees are picked up first and dropped last. Further, there shall not be less than twelve consecutive hours of rest or gap between the last shift and night shift wherever a woman worker is changed from day shift to night shift and vice versa.