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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » IV. National Mechanisms » Child Related Legislations » Factories Act, 1948 (as amended in 1987)

The factories act is an extensive and lengthy act that covers an endless number of concerns for labour working in factories. The following is an overview of provisions in the act that are relevant to children ages 0-18.The act defines a child as a person who has completed him/her 15th year of age. It defines an adolescent as one who is has completed his/her15th year of age but not completed his/her 18th year of age. A young person is defined as either a child or an adolescent. According to this act it is the duty of a certified medical practitioner or surgeon to examine and medical condition and certifies all young people working in the factory. These examinations take place where a young person is or is going to be engaged in work that is injurious to his health. Under this act a young person may not clean or lubricate the parts of any moving machinery that is likely to cause them injury.

Section 23 is concerned with the employment of young persons on dangerous machinery. Young persons are not to be compelled to work dangerous machinery unless they have full prior knowledge of the danger, are trained and there is a supervisor present at all times who is fully trained in the machinery. Children are prohibited from working in any area where a cotton opener is functional. The act calls for a cr�che service to be available to children below the age of six with the factory has a minimum of 30 women working there.

Chapter VII of the act concerns the employment of young persons. This section states that no child below the age of fourteen will be allowed or required to work in a factory. It requires that all non-adult workers or adolescents carry tokens that show that they have been deemed medically fit by a certifying surgeon. The certificate of fitness is given for a 12 month period, and can be revoked at any point if the child is found not to be medically fit anymore. The certificate also deem an adolescent to be treated as an adult as per certain provisions of this act. An adolescent who has not been deemed an adult for provisions of this act shall be considered a child.

The act places time restrictions to the work of adolescents who have been granted a certificate to work as adults. Adolescents are only allowed to work in the factory between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. unless the State Government decides otherwise. Children or adolescents who have not been deemed adults shall not be allowed to work in a factory for more than four and half hours in any day and can not work at night. They must no work more than two shifts, are not allowed to work in two factories in the same day and a register of all children working there and their hours must be maintained by the manger in every factory. An inspector has the power to order a medical check-up at any point if he suspects a child is working against the provisions of this act.

Children who have worked more than 240 days in the previous calendar year are allowed one day paid leave for every fifteen days they worked. He/She can carry forth forty unused leave days to the next calendar year. A child who has been granted five or more days leave can collect the wages for those days before the leave. Parents/Guardians of a child can be fined for allowing the child to work in two factories in the same day. Adolescents and children are not permitted to work in the manufacturing process or any other dangerous environment in a factory.

In 2005 the Ministry of Labour proposed an amendment bill that has yet to be passed. It was reintroduced in 2009 but was still not passed. The amendment does not really concern any of the provisions related to the child but is concerns the right of women to work at night in the factories.

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