Working Hours and Overtime As Per The Factories Act, 1948


There has been a rise in large-scale factory/industry in India in the second half of the nineteenth century. Major Moore, Inspector-in-Chief of the Bombay Cotton Department, in his Report in 1872-73 most importantly brought up the issue for the provision of legislation to manage the working condition in factories; the first Factories Act was authorized in 1881. From that point forward the act has been amended on numerous occasions. The Factories Act, 1934 was passed supplanting all the past legislation as to factories. This demonstration was drafted in light of the suggestions of the Royal Commission on Labour. This Act has also been amended suitably from time to time.

The competence of working in the Factories Act, 1934 had uncovered various deformities and shortcomings which have hampered effective administration of the Act, and the requirement for wholesale modification of the act to stretch out its protective provisions to the enormous number of smaller industrial establishments was felt. Hence, the Factories Act, 1948[1] solidifying and amending the law relating to labor in factories, was passed by the Constituent Assembly on August 28, 1948. The Act got the consent of the Governor-General of India on 23 September 1948 and came into power on April 1, 1949.

Working Hours can be defined as the hours for which the worker or employee has to work under an occupation. It very well may be on a daily basis, weekly basis, or month-to-month premise. Earlier, the job description was centered on the pay or the salary. But now, since the quality of the work is also important for the workers, the aspect of working hours plays an important role in deciding to opt for a job or not. So as to shield the laborers from the abuse of the industrial facility proprietors concerning working hours, the Factories Act, 1948 expresses a few arrangements identified with it.


1. Working hours for Adults:

As per sections 51[2] and 54[3] of the Factories Act, an adult worker shall not be employed for more than 48 (forty-eight) hours in a week and not more than 9 (nine) hours in a day. An obligatory rest of at least 30 minutes between each period of work and such a period of work will not surpass five hours. Total time of work including rest interval can’t be more than 10.5 hours. The Chief Inspector may by giving an explanation in writing increment the workday time up to twelve hours. As per the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 the working day of a worker shall be arranged in such a way that inclusive of the interval of rest it will not surpass 12 hours on any day. The State Governments have the power to make rules in respect of adult workers in factories and to make exemptions to the above-mentioned rules.

Nonetheless, the total number of hours of work in a week, including extra time, will not surpass sixty and the total number of hours of overtime will not surpass fifty for any one quarter. The employer needs to ensure that no worker works over 10 days without a rest day of 24 hours. Henceforth, if the worker is approached to work on a weekly holiday, he ought to have a full holiday on one of three days immediately or after the normal day of the holiday.

The Factories Act puts a limitation on double employment and overlapping of shifts. No worker is permitted to work in any factory on any day on which he has just been working in some other factory. If a worker’s shift extends beyond midnight, a holiday of a whole day means 24 consecutive hours beginning when his shift ends must be provided to him.[4]

Weekly holiday is mandatory according to the Factories Act. The first day of the week i.e. Sunday shall be a weekly holiday. Compensatory holiday in substitute for weekly holidays denied and such compensatory holiday must be given within the same month or two months following the month when the weekly holiday was missed.[5]

2. Working hours for Women:

Section 66(1)(b) of the Act provides that a woman worker cannot be employed beyond the hours 6 a.m. to 7.00 pm. State Government can allow an exemption to any factory or gathering or class of factories, however, no woman can be allowed to work from 10 PM to 5 AM. Shift change can be only after weekly or other holidays and not in between.[6]

3. Working hours for Young Person:

Section 69 of the Factories Act provides that a child below the age of 14 years is not allowed to be employed in a Factory. A young person above 14 but below 15 years of age can be employed only for 4.5 hours per day and that too subject to a doctor’s permission by way of certification of fitness for work. An individual more than 15 however underneath 18 years old is termed as “adolescent”. He can be employed as an adult on the off chance that he has a certificate of fitness for an entire day’s work from a certifying surgeon. There are more limitations on the work of female adolescents.[7]


Notice of period of work, in English and local language should be displayed at some prominent place. No worker will be required or permitted to work in any factory in any case than as per the notice of periods of work displayed in the factory. Duplicate of notice of period in copy and any alteration is to be sent to the Inspector. Henceforth, albeit, no direct procedure for overtime has been spread out, it becomes compulsory that work periods are notified. Moreover, for overtime, the consent of the worker would be required as the law prohibits the employer to require a worker to work in a factory for more than 48 hours a week and nine hours a day, except if notified by the state government.

For the contract workers, according to the Contract Labour Act[8], 1971 a notification indicating the spot and time of disbursement of wages, rate of wages, hours of work, wage period, dates of payment of wages, name, and addresses of the Inspector having jurisdiction and date of payment of unpaid wages ought to be shown in the premises in the local language comprehended by the dominant part of the contract laborers.

Overtime Wages

Section 59 of the Factories Act, 1948 provides for overtime and extra wages. It expresses that if workers work for more than 9 hours a day or more than 48 hours a week, extra wages should be given at twice the ordinary rate. For agricultural worker as per the Plantation Act, this is extended to 54 hours a week as the standard, instead of 48 for factory work.

Total working hours inclusive of overtime ought not to surpass 60 hours in a week and total overtime hours in a quarter ought not to surpass 50. Register of overtime ought to be kept up. An employee doing work outside the factory campus like field workers etc. on tour outside headquarters are not entitled to extra-time.


Section 92 of the Factories Act, 1948 provides for the general penalty for offenses. –
Spare as is in any case explicitly provided in this Act and subject to the provisions of section 93, if in, or in regard of, any factory there is any repudiation of the provisions of this Act or any rules made thereunder or of any order in writing given thereunder, the occupier or manager of the factory will each be blameworthy of an offense and punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may reach out to one lakh rupees or with both, and if the contravention is continued after conviction, with a further fine which may stretch out to one thousand rupees for every day on which the negation has so proceeded.

Given that where negation of any of the provisions of Chapter IV or any rule made thereunder or under section 87 has brought about an accident causing death or genuine bodily injury, the fine will not be under twenty-five thousand rupees on account of an accident causing death, and five thousand rupees in the case of an accident causing serious bodily injury.

Explanation: In this section and section 94, “serious bodily injury” signifies an injury which includes, or in all probability will include, the permanent loss of the use of, or perpetual injury to, any appendage or the permanent loss of, or injury to sight or hearing, or the fracture of any bone, however, will exclude, the fracture of a bone or joint (not being fracture of more than one bone or joint) of and phalanges of the hand or foot.

In the case of General Manager, Wheel & A. P, Bangalore v. State of Karnataka[9], it was held that the requirement of obtaining sanction to prosecute is mandatory and taking cognizance of an offense in the absence of sanction cannot be allowed to stand and has to be quashed.

In the case of Provincial Government v. Ganpat[10], it was held that where the occupier or the manager of the factory admits the guilt under Section 92 of the Act but alleges the clerk of the Factory to be the real wrong-doer, the responsibility of proving the innocence is on such occupier or the manager as the case may be.


The current Factories Act in operation has given sufficient advantages to the factory workers. It has significantly bettered their working and employment conditions. The Government is effectively considering the acquaintance of some vital amendments to the Act to keep it in line with the time and make it progressively viable while managing the obligations of the Occupier and Factory Manager under Factories Act 1948.

Out and out we can conclude that the Occupier and Factory Manager has an essential task to carry out in guaranteeing the wellbeing, security, and government assistance of the laborers as they are the foundation of the industrial sector. It is, however essential that the workers and their delegates make themselves mindful of the different provisions of the Act and protect their inclinations on their own and force the defaulting employer to be aware of his legal commitments.









[9] 1995 (5) KarLJ 605, (1996) ILLJ 943 Kant

[10] AIR 1943 Nag 243

This Article is Authored by Harsh Sonbhadra, 2nd Year BALLB Student at Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (GGSIPU).

Also Read – An Overview of The Minimum Wages Act, 1948

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