The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on Aug 7, 2014 and is pending as of now. The bill proposes to amend The Factories Act, 1948.
The Statement of Objects and Reasons states that the amendments proposed in the Bill are based on the changes in the manufacturing practices and technologies, ratification of ILO conventions, judicial decisions, recommendations of various Committees and decisions taken in the conferences of Chief Inspectors of Factories.
The bill allows the state governments to raise the minimum number of employees up to 20 with aid of power and 40 without aid of power in any manufacturing premises to fall under the definition of factory. In the current act the numbers are 10 and 20 respectively. The Bill also amends the definitions of: (i) hazardous process, (ii) manufacturing process, (iii) occupier, and (iv) prescribed. It adds the definitions of: (i) hazardous substance, and (ii) disability.
The bill seeks to remove the restriction regarding working of women (i) on machines in motion, and (ii) near cotton openers. The current act prohibits women from working between 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM. The bill empowers state government to allow women employment during such hour given that:-
(i) there are adequate safeguards for safety, health and comfort of women (including night crèches, ladies’ toilets and transportation from the factory to their residence),
(ii) it has held due consultations with and obtained the consent of the women workers, the employer and the representative organizations of the employers and workers.
The bill imposes restriction on employment of pregnant women and disabled persons in certain works.
As per the current act, a factory employing more than 150 workers shall provide shelters and restrooms for male and female workers. As per the bill, the criteria have been reduced to 75 workers. The Bill also increases the maximum number of overtime hours allowed to a worker and relaxes the provisions regarding entitlement of workers to paid leave. A per the current act, the total number of overtime hours shall not exceed 50 hours in one quarter. The bill proposes to increase the limit upto 100 hours. Under clause 39, by virtue of exempting orders, the period of overtime can be increased up to 115 hours for any quarter, which is 75 under the current provision.