The Labor ministry has suggested nine-hour regular working day in its draft wage code as against eight hours now. However, the ministry has not commented or proposed anything on fixing a National Minimum Wage as it may draw wrath from trade unions.
Trade unions, however, are not pleased with the draft rules. AK Padmanabhan, Vice President of Centre for Indian Trade Union, shared in media, "Some factories are already pushing people to do nine-hour normal workday. What [the draft rules] are trying to achieve is to institutionalize it for all. We have opposed the wage code and we shall oppose the rule because they are not talking about workers welfare.”
The draft rules leave room for ambiguity by falling back on the long-existing formula of calculating daily wages on the basis of 26 working days of eight hours each, as opposed to the new recommendation of nine-hour working days.
"When the rate of wages for a day is fixed, then, such amount shall be divided by eight for fixing the rate of wages for an hour and multiplied by twenty six for fixing the rate of wages for a month and in such division and multiplication, the factors of one-half and more than one-half shall be rounded as next figure and the factors less than one-half shall be ignored," read the draft rules.
The country will be divided into three geographic categories – metropolitan area with a population of 40 lakh or more, non-metropolitan area with a population of 10-40 lakh and rural areas – to set the minimum wage, said the draft rules.
A per the draft issued by Government of India's Ministry of Labor & Employment:
Number of hours of work which shall constitute a normal working day-
- The number of hours which shall constitute a normal working day under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 13, shall be nine hours.
- The working day of an employee shall be so arranged that inclusive of the intervals of rest, if any, it shall not spread over more than twelve hours on any day.
- The provisions of sub-rules (1) and (2) shall, in the case of an employee employed in agricultural employment, be subject to such modifications as may, from time to time, be determined by the Central Government.
- Nothing in this rule shall be deemed to affect the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948).
The draft rule will be finalized in December after it receives public comments for a month.