Instead developed nations are moving towards the ILO‘s latest convention that mandates a 40-hour work-week in place of the 48- hour work convention, which was ratified by several countries including India way back in 1921.
“India was among the first countries to ratify ILO Convention 1 on 14th July 1921, limiting the working hours of persons in any public and private industrial undertaking to eight in the day and 48 in the week,” Anoop Satpathy, wage specialist at ILO India, told ET.Prior to the ILO Convention 1, most of the countries world over were following a 60-hour work-week.
“Accordingly, almost all the Indian labour regulations (around 24 of them) have provisions to limit working hours to eight per day and 48 in a week,” he said.
Transition to reduce hours
According to Satpathy, 15 countries (some of the European and Central Asian countries, including three Asian countries-Australia, New Zealand and Korea) have ratified ILO Forty-Hour Week Convention, 1935 that further limits the work-week to 40 hours in such a manner that the standard of living is not reduced in consequence.
“National labour laws on working time have largely followed the international standards, such that the 40-hour work-week is now the most common national standard for normal weekly hours of work and the dominant standard in the developed world while the 48-hour work-week remains common in developing countries,” he said.
From this one can infer that a 70-hour work-week is not mandated under any national law in any country, although in practice this may be happening in certain sectors or in occupations, which may be seen as a compliance issue, he added.
Impact on productivity
As per the ILO, the premise that long working hours result in high productivity is a myth. “In fact, working excessively long hours on a regular basis has been shown to reduce hourly productivity due to greater fatigue, and those workers with long hours and/or heavy workloads report decreasing job satisfaction and motivation and also higher rates of absenteeism and staff turnover,” he said, quoting the ILO report of 2018 on the working time and future of work.