What is Overtime?
Overtime refers to the time worked in excess of one’s regular working hours which, in India, is eight-nine hours per day and forty eight-fifty hours per week, depending upon the establishment one is employed under. If someone works for more than that regular working hours, one is eligible to get remuneration for that period twice one’s normal wage.
Overtime Laws in India
Several statutes enact upon overtime and overtime payment, and different Acts provide for a different period of working hours, the hour prescribed under the Factories Act, 1948 is taken as a standard period. According to Section 51 of the Act one is not supposed to work for more than 48 hours in a week and under Section 59, not more than nine hours a day. The time worked in excess to these 48 hours and 9 nine hours would fall under overtime under the Act and would require the employer to pay such employees wages at the rate which is twice the ordinary wage.
Section 14 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 lays down that where the minimum wage of an employee is fixed for a period of time and the employee works more than that period; he is to be paid for that extra time he has worked, at an overtime rate.
Under Section 33 of the Mines Act, 1952 if any mine worker works for more than nine hours above the ground and more than eight hours below it in a day or works for more than 48 hours in a week anywhere, whether above or below, he is entitled to be paid at the rate of twice his ordinary wage for the extra time he has worked. Also, the Act does not allow anyone to work for more than ten hours in a day inclusive of overtime under Section 36.
Under Section 17 and 18 of the Bidi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966, no one is to work for more than ten hours a day and fifty-four hours a week including overtime. Similarly, Under Plantation Labour Act, 1951 if one works for more than the normal number of hours he is to get overtime wages and also one should be allowed to work for more than nine hours in a day and 54 hours in a week in any case.
Overtime Laws for Women and Children
The factories Act, 1948 restricts the employment of women between 7:00 pm and 6:00 am that can be relaxed by the Chief inspector of factories in certain cases, if the relaxation done exceeds the normal period of working hour, they are to be paid the overtime. Even this relaxation is time bound, i.e. women, in no case may be required to work between 10:00 pm to 05:00 am.
Under the same Act, Section 75 specifies that no child below fourteen years of age can be employed in any factory, and children above fourteen who are eligible to work in a factory cannot be allowed to work for more than four and a half hour in a day and are not supposed to work between 10:00 p.m. and 06:00 a.m. and especially girl children are not allowed to work in any factory except between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm.
Other Things One Should Know
It is seen that in many employment agreements there is a clause which states that- the workers must/may be required to work overtime. However, working overtime should be voluntary and not forced through an agreement. It should be the worker who should decide whether he wants to do overtime or not.
Where the employer asks for overtime, it should generally be in special circumstances such as to meet the sudden increase in demand, etc. Even in that case the employees should not be forced to do overtime.
Every establishment should have a register of overtime containing the details of the worker, the extra time he has given to work and the calculation of overtime amount.