Hi All. We run a process industry 24*7*365 manufacturing pharmaceuticals . Currently we run in 3 shifts a day of 8 hours each. I came across the concept of 12 hour scheduling wherein employees work 12 hours a day for 4 days a week in day and nights . They get 01 day off before two night shifts and 02 days off before a morning shift again- so a week looks like -- ddonnoo--
It seems ok surface that this a good type of schedule -- but I was wondering what kinds of things I should consider before proposing it to management.. Are their any legal issues involved if workers still work 48 hours a week? Any others issues I must consider? Do offer ur help.
Also I haven't heard of it being followed anywhere in India-- please let me know if u are aware.

From India, Gurgaon
Dinesh Divekar

Business Mentor, Consultant and Trainer
Dear Meenu,

Please consider the following questions before taking up case for 12-hour work schedule to the management

a) Why the need was felt to convert from 8-hour to 12-hour schedule?

b) Have employees preferred this kind of schedule? Have you conducted survey for the change of schedule?

c) What type of employees will have 12-hour work schedule? Do they work on shop floor? Are they required to do physically hard work? What will be the rest hours?

d) Will there be impact on the employee productivity? What would be the cost of human errors?

e) Those who put up 8-hour shift, occasionally they also continue with the work and complete their additional shift. They go to security, swipe out their card and swipe in again after 5 minutes. This helps them to get noticed for their continuous work. Though it is illegal, sometimes workers prefer it for the sake of overtime payment. Now in your case, if someone falls sick on working day, how will you manage that employee's absence? Will you tell him to put up additional 12-hour work? What if he refuses?

f) What if 12-hour work schedule becomes prohibitive factor to get quality employees? Will it hamper quality of the recruitment?

Legal position: - Either shops and establishment act or factory act does not permit 12-hour work schedule. Therefore, how will you justify the change if Labour Officer inspects the attendance rolls?


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

Dear Dinesh Sir,
For above query I would also like to ask that, in 1 week any employee works 5 days(12 Hrs daily) then his O.T. becomes 80 hrs (appx) monthly while as per factories act(Maharashtra Rule) Quarterly limit for same is 50 Hrs. So this also can be lead to legal consequences?

From India, Nagpur

Partner - Risk Management
The revised factories act in Maharashtra allows overtime up to 117 hours a quarter.
However, 12 hour shifts are definitely not allowed.
The legal consequences
_ violation of factories act resulting in penalty of up,to ₹20o,000 per incident, and I prisonment off up to 6 months.
- in case of any accident, and investigation that shows the worker has been working 12 hour shifts on a continuous basis will lead to an inference that the accident has taken place due to exhaustion and overwork. The company will be liable for compensation as well as persecution under various laws

From India, Mumbai
Dear all,

Thanks for valuable comments.

I propose 12 hour shifts and 4 day working for each employee to maintain legal limit of 48 hours working per week. Workers will get extra off days- which is my concern. What if they go find other jobs?

If I have understood law correctly, working hours are stated as 48 per week ( no more tha 12 hours a day) not exceeding 60 per week including overtime.

The company will have to build redundancy of manpower and only those who have an off on a given day may be requested to fill in an absentee position.

I understand that all employees can't have 12 hour scheudles-- but am trying to understand which type of roles can merit these. - shop floor , Ac dept staff, electricians , etc?

The reason I am suggesting this schedule is for better lifestyle of workers. They currently do 6 Ashifts then get one day off then 6 c shifts then 1 day off and 6 b shifts and 1 day off.. I feel the rest time of one day isn't actually enough to recuperate from shift duty, also we have lots of absenteeism in c shift , because people can't do c night duty 6 days in a row!

Of course I'm hoping their better lifestyle will translate into more productive hours and company will indirectly benefit as well.

I hope I am making sense: how do I recheck the legal side first? that is most important factor at the proposal stage.

Do share ur thoughts.

From India, Gurgaon
To my knowledge, there is no scheme in the Factories Act that can permit a 12 working hour shift, as no worker is permitted to work beyond 9 hours a day subject to the maximum of 48 hours a week. However the spread over of work inclusive of intervals of rest can be 10 1/2 hours and in any case not to exceed 12 hours with the permission of the factory Inspector, as per Sec.56.Therefore OT becomes payable if the work hours exceed 9 hours in a day or 48 hours in a week. However you can refer to the rules of your State for any specific c exemptions in this regard.

From India, Mumbai

Partner - Risk Management
It is interesting to see how a colour of better lifestyle is being given to a scheme to overwork and exploit workers.
Legally, this practice is not allowed, irrespective of whether you are willing to pay overtime or not.
You want to get 12 hour shifts to reduce the cost of employing people and avoiding overtime. How will it improve the lifestyle of a worker if he works 12 hours more everyday ? Considering travel time, meal and sleep, the person will barely have enough hours a day.

From India, Mumbai
Mr Banerjee,
Ur remarks are taken but with a pinch of salt.
The proposal of doing 12 hour shifts , Gives employees 3 off days instead of 1 per week to maintain 48 hour working per week. It does not allow management to reduce number of employees rather - total employees increased to build in for refund ace as no overtime can be expected from people who have worked 12 hours .
Admittedly, it seems like the proposal is not supported by law, but that gives u no right to judge mine or our managements intentions.

From India, Gurgaon
Thank U sir. It is surprising that such scheudles are legal in developed countries like America but not here. Anyways I appreciate the experienced support on the group. Regards
From India, Gurgaon

Labour law & HR consultant
Dear Meenu Kaushik,
If you critically analyse any Establishment-oriented Labour Legislation, you will find that working hours are basically determined with reference to day only. The objective behind fixing the maximum no. of hours per week is to regulate the over-time hours simultaneously altering the perday working hours neither to the disadvantage of the workmen nor to the work-in-progress of the establishment concerned..

From India, Salem

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