Working Days, Hours, and Overtime Regulations in India

This blog offers a comprehensive guide to navigating the intricacies of labour laws governing working days, hours, and overtime regulations in India, tailored specifically for startups and small businesses. Covering key statutes such as the Factories Act of 1948 and state-specific Shops and Establishment Acts, it outlines permissible working days, maximum hours, and overtime compensation, while also detailing potential consequences of non-compliance, including legal penalties and reputational damage. By providing clarity on legal requirements and emphasizing the importance of compliance, the blog equips readers with essential knowledge to foster a legally sound and harmonious workplace environment, ultimately aiding in the establishment and maintenance of successful businesses that prioritize both employee welfare and legal integrity.

For startups and small businesses in India, understanding and complying with labour laws is crucial for maintaining a harmonious work environment and ensuring that the rights of employees are well-protected. A key aspect of these laws revolve around the rules and regulations regarding the working days, working hours, and overtime compensation of employees. Familiarising yourself with the legal framework governing these aspects will enable you to create a fair and legally compliant workplace that benefits both your employees and your business.

Legal Framework and Key Provisions

The legal framework governing working days, working hours, and overtime compensation in India comprises a combination of central and state-specific labour laws. The primary statutes include the Factories Act of 1948, regulating factory and manufacturing units, and the Shops and Establishments Acts of different states regulating all commercial establishments except factories, such as shops, offices, and restaurants, established in that specific state. Besides these, there are certain sector-specific laws, such as the Plantations Labour Act, 1951, and the Mines Act, 1952, contributing to the regulation of working hours and conditions for workers in plantations and mines respectively.
Statute Applicable To Working Days Working Hours Overtime
Factories Act, 1948
Factories and Manufacturing Units
Not more than 6 days a week
Up to 48 hours a week
Double the regular wages per hour
Shops and Establishment Acts
All shops and commercial establishments
Varies by state (usually 6 days)
Varies by state (8-9 hours a day)
Varies by state (1.5-2 times the regular wages)
Plantations Labour Act, 1951
Not more than 6 days a week
Up to 54 hours a week
Double the regular wages per hour
Mines Act, 1952
Not more than 6 days a week
Up to 48 hours a week
Double the regular wages per hour
Please note that these provisions may vary based on state-specific amendments and rules. To ensure compliance and protect the rights of your employees, it is essential to be familiar with the relevant laws applicable to your region and industry. As the provisions of the shops and establishment act vary from state to state, you should refer to the updated law on it as it may apply in your state or union territory. You may also refer to our state wise analysis of Shops and Establishment Act.

Non Compliance Consequences

Non-compliance with working hours and overtime provisions in India can lead to several consequences for businesses, as prescribed under different labour laws. Here are some specific penal provisions under the major labour laws:

Factories Act, 1948:

  • Section 59: In case an employer fails to pay the overtime wages, they will be punishable with imprisonment for a term extending up to 3 months or a fine up to INR 500, or both.
  • Section 63: Violation of working hour provisions may result in a fine of INR 500 for the first offence, and for subsequent offences, the employer could face imprisonment for a term extending up to 3 months, a fine of INR 1,000, or both.
Working Days, Hours, and Overtime Regulations

Shops and Establishments Acts (State-specific)

Penal provisions for non-compliance with working hours and overtime regulations vary across different state-specific Shops and Establishments Acts. Here are a few examples:
  • Delhi Shops and Establishments Act, 1954: Section 41 imposes a fine of up to INR 250 for the first offence and up to INR 500 for subsequent offences of non-compliance with working hour regulations.
  • Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2017 Section 40 states that employers who contravene any provisions of the Act, including those related to working hours and overtime, can face a fine ranging from INR 1,000 to INR 2,00,000, depending on the nature of the offence.

Other consequences of non-compliance include

  1. Legal disputes: Employees may file complaints or lawsuits against the employer, leading to legal disputes, potential damage to the business’s reputation, and financial liabilities.
  2. Loss of employee trust: Violating labour laws can result in dissatisfaction and mistrust among employees, negatively impacting employee morale, productivity, and loyalty.
  3. Increased employee turnover: Dissatisfied employees may leave the organisation in search of better working conditions, leading to higher employee turnover rates and associated costs.
  4. Damage to the business’s reputation: Non-compliance with labour laws can harm a company’s reputation among potential clients, partners, and investors, as well as the general public, leading to a loss of business opportunities and a negative impact on the bottom line.
  5. Regulatory scrutiny: Repeated non-compliance with labour laws can attract the attention of regulatory authorities, resulting in increased inspections, audits, and scrutiny of your business operations.
To avoid these consequences, businesses must proactively ensure compliance with the relevant labour laws on working hours and overtime provisions. Partnering with a trusted business consultancy firm like SetIndiaBiz can help you navigate the complexities of Indian labour laws and ensure compliance with the relevant statutes. Reach out to our team at SetIndiaBiz today and let us help you build a successful business that thrives on a strong foundation of labour law compliance.

Prioritizing compliance with labour laws is essential for startups and small businesses in India to create a fair and productive workplace. Moving forward, ongoing education and collaboration with legal experts can help navigate evolving regulations, ensuring sustained compliance and fostering long-term success. By committing to legal integrity and employee welfare, businesses can not only avoid risks but also establish themselves as ethical leaders, driving growth and prosperity in India's dynamic business environment.



Q1: What are the consequences of non-compliance with working hour regulations?

Non-compliance can lead to penalties such as fines or imprisonment under labour laws like the Factories Act of 1948 and state-specific Shops and Establishment Acts. Additionally, it can result in legal disputes, damage to reputation, and loss of employee trust.

Q2: Are there different regulations for working hours in different states?

Yes, working hour regulations can vary between states due to their respective Shops and Establishment Acts. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations applicable to your state to ensure compliance.

Q3: How can businesses calculate overtime compensation for employees?

Overtime compensation is typically calculated as one and a half to double the regular wages per hour, depending on the applicable labour laws. For instance, under the Factories Act of 1948, overtime pay is double the regular wages per hour.
Yes, aside from legal penalties, non-compliance can lead to negative consequences such as loss of employee morale, increased turnover rates, damage to the business’s reputation, and regulatory scrutiny.

Q5: How can startups and small businesses ensure compliance with labour laws?

To ensure compliance, businesses should stay updated on relevant labour laws and seek guidance from legal experts or consultancy firms specializing in labour law compliance. Additionally, fostering a culture of transparency and ethical conduct within the organization can further mitigate compliance risks.