FACTORIES ACT, 1948
The Factories Act, 1948 provides safeguard for workers to protect health, provides for safety at the workplace when dealing with machinery, improves the physical conditions of the workplace, and provides welfare amenities. Only factories are covered by the Act.
The Act also restricts the hours of work, provides for overtime and spread of working hours, and employment of young persons and women.
Night Shifts and women
In general, the act prohibits employment of women in night shift. The Act has been recently amended to allow work in night shift by women in certain sectors including the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), IT sector and Textiles. This is subject to the condition that the employers shall be obligated to provide adequate safeguards in the workplace, equal opportunity, their transportation from the factory premises to the nearest point of their residence.  (Section 66)
Prohibitions on Employment of Women on or Near Machineries in Motion
The Act indirectly bans employment of women workers on or near machineries in motion. It lays down that where in any factory it becomes necessary to examine any part of machinery referred to in Section 21, while the machinery is in motion, such examination shall be carried out only by a specially trained adult male worker. (Section 22)
Also, it provides that no woman shall be allowed to clean, lubricate or adjust any part of a prime mover or of any transmission machinery while the prime mover or transmission machinery is in motion, if that would expose the woman to risk of injury from any moving part either of that machine or of any adjacent machinery. (Section 22)
Furthermore, it provides that no woman shall be employed in any part of a factory for pressing cotton in which a cotton-opener is at work. (Section 27)
Maternity Leave and Creche Facility
The Act makes provision for maternity leave with wages for expecting mothers for a maximum period of 12 weeks. (Section 79)
The Act provides that every factory with more than 30 women employees shall provide and maintain suitable room/s and feeding breaks and free milk or refreshment or both for children below 6 years for these women. (Section 48)
Human Resource Management (2009), Indian Adaptation, 11th edition, Gary Dessler & Biju Varkkey, Pearson Education.
Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Factories Act to be amended to allow night shift for women workers. Retrieved July 14, 2009, online via access: pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=9027
Disclaimer: This section provides only a brief of Indian legislation and should not be considered as legal advice.
Also Check: Other Women Legislations