India Making Way For Four-day Work Week, with Longer Working Hours

The new proposed labour codes will provide companies with four working days in a week, making way for a three day weekend and 48 hours a week work. The companies need not have a Government nod to enact it after the provisions of flexibility are finalised, reports RHEA BINOY.


The Union Ministry of Labour and Employment is working on new labour codes under which the companies can be flexible to have four working days instead of five or six.

The new labour codes will keep the working hours at 48 hours a week, and make way for a three day weekend, which implies that the employees might be subjected to long working hours. According to Labour and Employment Secretary Apurva Chandra, the working limit of 48 hours for a week will remain “sacrosanct.”

Labour and Employment Ministry Secretary Apurva Chandra to Business Insider said, “Companies will have to give three days of paid leaves and 12 hours of work per day to their employees or employers. It gives flexibility. It’s an enabling provision in sync with the changing work culture. We have tried to make some changes. We have tried to give flexibility in working days.”

However, the Labour Secretary clarified that having a reduced number of working days does not mean a cut in paid holidays. Hence, when the new rules will provide provisions of four working days, it would mean three paid holidays.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment is likely to complete the process and finalise the rules for the labour codes soon. The move will ensure that the companies will not require the government’s permission to enact it.

“All the stakeholders are also consulted in framing the rules. This ministry would soon be in a position to bring into force the four codes, that is, the Code on Wages, Industrial Relations, Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions and Social Security Codes”, Chandra told The Indian Express.

According to The Indian Express, the Labour Ministry plans on implementing the four labour codes from April 1 this year and is in the final stage of categorising 44 central laws into four broad codes on wages, industrial relations, social security, and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions.

The Government is also likely to set up a web portal for the registration of the workers from the unorganised sector and migrant workers by June this year, which will help in creating food, housing and health schemes.

It will also allow the employees to avail the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation facilities, allowing the beneficiary workers to have an annual medical checkup so that the employer does not have to bear the cost.

The International Labour Organisation’s norms of working state that, “the general standard is 48 regular hours of work per week, with a maximum of eight hours per day.”

(Rhea Binoy is a journalism student at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, and is an intern with The Leaflet.)