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Why in the news?
As the government finalises the rules for the new labour codes, The Labour Ministry is now considering giving flexibility to companies to have four working days instead of five or six.
- The central government proposes to replace 29 existing labour laws with four Codes.
- The objective is to simplify and modernise labour regulation.
- The major challenge in labour reforms is to facilitate employment growth while protecting workers’ rights.
What is the proposal?
- The proposed new labour codes could provide companies with the flexibility of four working days in a week, even as the working hours limit of 48 hours for a week will remain “sacrosanct”, Labour and Employment Secretary
- This implies that there will be longer working hours if the working days are reduced.
- For instance, a four working day week will have to meet the 48-hour weekly work hours, resulting in daily shifts of 12 hours, which will correspondingly reduce if there is five-day or six-day working week.
When and how will this be rolled out?
- The provision of flexibility to have reduced working days of four days in the labour code rules will mean that companies will not require prior government nod to enact it
- The Labour Secretary, however, clarified that having a reduced number of working days does not mean a cut in paid holidays.
- Therefore, when the new rules will provide flexibility of four working days, it would imply three paid holidays.
- “It (working days) could come down below five. If it is four, then you have to provide three paid holidays so if it has to be a seven day week, then it has to be divided into4, 5 or 6 working days
- The rulemaking process is already underway and likely to be completed in the coming week.
- “All stakeholders are also consulted in framing of rules. This ministry would soon be in a position to bring into force the four Codes, viz., Code on Wages, Industrial Relations, Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions(OSH) and Social Security Codes
- The labour ministry had envisaged implementing the four labour codes from April 1 this year in one go.
- The ministry is in the final leg of amalgamating 44 central labour laws into four broad codes on wages, industrial relations, social security and OSH.
- The ministry wants to implement all four codes in one go.
- While employees will be utterly happy with the idea of getting a whole day off, or a 3-day holiday/per week, this schedule will turn out to be advantageous for employers too.
- The employees will get one whole extra day to spend on leisure activities and recover from their weekly pressures, while for employers, this is likely to save costs, as office rents will reduce, in conjunction with more energized and productive staff.
- It will benefit sectors such as information technology and shared services. In the banking and financial services industry, 20-30% people can use the long working hours template for four or five days and enjoy a longer break.
- Profiles like human resources and finance verticals can easily adopt such a practice faster.
- The foreign firms will be the first to adopt it as this will reduce their real estate expenditure at one end and improve productivity of workers on the other.
- The 4 days work week concept has been in discussion for quite some time now. This debate has started off in Germany that already has the lowest working hours in a week at 34.2 hours. Several companies have experimented with it.
- 5-day work culture is more effective and contributes to better productivity at the workplace. Since the reduction in working days will reflect in the number of increased working hours, it will act as more burden for the employees.
- The increased timeline of work will hassle the employees stress level per day decreasing the work productivity.
- Also, the 4 days’ work culture can only be implemented according to the functioning and working of different sectors.
- Sectors like the manufacturing sector, service sector, etc. might not be able to meet the consumers’ expectations and demand. 5 days’ work week has a better impact on the output and results.
- Some workplaces have 4 working days and some have 5, this might create chaos in functioning. If the organization we serve has 5 work days and on contrary, we have 4 work days, it will be difficult to sync up the schedules.
- 4 working days means 57% of the week is working while 43% of the week is ‘off’. It might be difficult for some people to switch modes (work to off) so quickly. Many other work/schedules will have to be altered to keep up with this, some of which might not even be possible.
Example of other country:
- In 2008, employees of the Utah state government all began working ten-hour days from Monday to Thursday.
- In The Gambia, a four-day work week was introduced for public officials by President Yahya Jammeh, effective 1 February 2013, to allow residents more time forprayer and agriculture.
To see the comfort of employee is one of the very soothing step taken by govt. its implementation will surely make workers to work with more energy but management needs to also think about how to manage the works of hospital and medical which needs to run 24*7 for the public service. It will be interesting to observe how the corporate culture adopts to this new work model, and whether it will be fruitful or not.
Mains oriented question:
India is the working which has always seen violation of rules and regulations when it comes on to the labors rights in such scenario step taken by govt. for 4 days work in week can be fruitful but it has many challenges as well. Explain in detail. (200 words)