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Overtime Payment At Workplace: A Crucial Yet Ambiguous Issue – Employee Rights/ Labour Relations

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In India, job security is the most vital issue we face,
regularly, and if you are a youngster, it becomes more difficult
for you to sustain a job. The worst phase was seen during the
pandemic (COVID-19), people were forced to do overtime to save
their jobs without the actual payment for their overtime. This was
the issue that white-collared employees faced but what about the
migrant labour class or minimum wage
labour, for them, the
pandemic was the most horrendous ever possible, losing their
livelihoods and whatnot. They had to deal on many fronts and do
overtime on their jobs without a genuine pay scale.

It is the need of the hour, that people educate themselves
concerning this issue.

INTRODUCTION

Overtime payment is the concept that people don’t have
proper knowledge about or are just misinformed regarding its law
and regulations. Governments trying their foremost to give
dignified and respectable lives to the labour classes and wage
workers, it is pertinent to state that several legislations and
regulations are functioning to curb this immoral practice.

Many rules in India set limits on the number of hours of
overtime that are permitted as well as a method for calculating
those hours. Many sectors are currently unable to use the overtime
legislation for paid workers. The situation could improve over the
next few days when new labour laws are put into
effect in India. Employees and laborers may find it helpful to
consult with local labour lawyers to determine
who is entitled to overtime pay and who is not.

WHAT ARE NORMAL WORKING HOURS?

The law in India prescribes a particular number of hours that
the workers are supposed to work to complete their shift, these
working hours are referred to as the Normal Working Hours.

The prescribed ‘Normal Working Hours’ are not more than
48 hours as under the ambit of Section 51 of the
Factories Act, 1948.

OVERTIME

Overtime can be referred to as any number of hours worked over
the Normal Working Hours. Any employee who works more than the
prescribed number of hours i.e., 48 hours a week, is entitled to
receive an overtime charge at the rates prescribed by the law.

PROVISIONS FOR OVERTIME

1) Provisions under the Minimum Wages Act,
1948:

  • Section 14: Minimum rate of pay is determined ‘by the
    hour, by the day, or by any such period
    ‘, and’ is
    regarded to have worked overtime if they put in more time than
    that.

  • If employees work longer than the set hours, they are entitled
    to overtime pay for those extra hours or portions of those
    hours.

  • The Overtime pay rate may be fixed by the appropriate
    government.

  • Any employee who works on a rest day will also be entitled to
    wages on overtime rate

  • Maximum punishment for infraction: six months in prison or a
    fine of Rs. 500

2) Provisions under the Factories Act,
1948:

  • Section 59: Overtime pay at a rate that is double that
    worker’s regular rate of pay.

  • Violation: Sentence up to ‘two years in prison, a fine
    up to one lakh rupees, or a combination of the two
    ‘.
    Further, in case of continuation, up to one thousand rupees for
    each day is perpetuated.

  • Section 51: A maximum of 9 hours a day is the daily limit
    whereas a maximum 48 hours a week is the weekly limit.

  • Section 55: A worker is not supposed to work for more than 5
    hrs without a break.

  • Section 56: Working hours, including breaks, cannot exceed 10.5
    hours.

  • Overtime limit: The maximum daily workday, including overtime,
    is 10 hours, or 60 hours per week. 50 hours of overtime cannot be
    worked in a quarter (3-month period).

3) Provisions under the Mines Act, 1952:

  • Working Hours: Nine hours above the ground and Eight hours
    below the ground, daily

  • Section 33: a maximum of five hours of continuous work

  • In the event that an employee is paid on a piece rate, the
    payment will be equivalent.

  • Section 35: The maximum number of hours worked per day,
    including overtime, is 10.

4) Provisions under the Beedi and Cigar Workers
(Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966:

  • Sections 17 and 18: 10 hrs per day and 54 hrs per week is the
    prescribed limit of total working hours including the overtime
    hours.

  • Section 33: anyone who violates any of the terms of this Act or
    any rules imposed under it would be subject to a fine that may
    reach 250 rupees for a first offense (Rs 250). A second or
    subsequent offense would result in a sentence of imprisonment for
    a time of not less than one month nor more than six
    months, or a fine of not less than one hundred rupees nor more than
    five hundred rupees, or both
    ‘.

5) Provisions under the Contract Labour (Regulation
& Abolition) Act, 1970:

  • Rule 79: Register of Overtime in Form XXIII is to be kept by
    every contractor, which must include all information on overtime
    computation, hours of additional labour, employee name,
    etc.

6) Provisions under the Building and Other Construction
Workers (Regulation of Employment Service) Act, 1996:

  • Sections 28 and 29: employees who work overtime are entitled to
    compensation that is double their regular hourly rate.

  • Violation: In case of no express penalty elsewhere for the
    violation or failure, ‘a fine that may not exceed one
    thousand rupees for each such violation or failure, as the case may
    be. Continuing violation or failure, as the case may be, would
    result in an additional fine that might reach one hundred rupees
    for each day that it persisted
    ‘.

7) Provisions under the Working Journalist (Conditions
of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955:

  • Rule 10: A working journalist who clocks in for more than 6
    hours during the day or 512 hours during the night on any given day
    is entitled to remuneration in the form of rest hours equal to the
    number of hours they worked beyond their contracted hours.

  • Violation: A fine of up to 200 rupees may be imposed. And
    anyone who has previously been found guilty of an offense under
    this Act and is found guilty again of an offense involving a
    violation of the same provision may face a fine that might reach
    500 rupees.

8) Provisions under the Plantation Labour Act,
1951:

  • Section 19: Overtime workers are entitled to twice the regular
    salary rates for their overtime hours. However, no such employee
    should be permitted to work more than 9 hours on any given day or
    more than 54 hours on any given week.

  • Violation: The violator is subjected to a period of
    imprisonment that may last up to three months, a fine that may
    amount to 500 rupees, or both.

ELIGIBILITY

The workers who are eligible to receive overtime are; factory
workers, workers in an underground or above-ground mine, working
journalists, scheduled employees, employees of any shop or
establishment, labour working on a contractual basis, and workers
on building and construction projects.

The proposed Labour standards in India do feature overtime
payment rules for salaried white-collar workers, although some
states may not support this legislation. Workers such as armed
forces personnel and any individual who exceeds the permitted
overtime limits or clocks in extra hours without permission will
not be eligible to receive overtime pay.

CALCULATION FOR OVERTIME

According to Indian overtime payment regulations, it is based on
the basic wage. Additionally, any other allowance or dearness may
be included. However, it should be noted that any bonus or other
form of incentive is disregarded for determining or calculating
India’s overtime payment regulations. In any event, the rules
regarding overtime payment take no account of the total wage.
However, Indian overtime payment laws do not prohibit employers
from rewarding devoted workers voluntarily in the absence of a
legal need. In such a situation, it is up to the employer to decide
whether overtime is paid in India on a basic or gross basis.

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CONCLUSION

As overtime payment is a crucial yet ambiguous issue, it is very
important for all the workers to get educated about their rights
and update their information about the same. Each worker working
more than the prescribed rate of working hours deserves to get paid
for the same as they are working harder in order to get the work
done for their respective employers. Overtime Payments also act as
a reward for the worker in order to motivate them and give their
hard work some recognition. Hence, it is the need of the hour to
address this issue and not violate the rights of the workers.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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