The landmark labour law amendment in Karnataka will allow for 12-hour shifts and night-time work for women.

Updated: 10 Mar 2023

Apple and its manufacturing partner Foxconn were involved in lobbying for a significant liberalisation of labour laws in Karnataka. This landmark legislation led to changes that allow for 12-hour shifts and night-time work for women, which is similar to the companies’ practices in China, reported Financial Times while citing sources familiar with the matter.


The new law provides one of the most flexible working regimes in India, where the country is aiming to become a new manufacturing base, following months of COVID-19 disruption that has impacted global supply chains.

Foxconn has stated that the amendment is crucial to building efficient manufacturing at scale, and that being able to run production with two 12-hour shifts around the clock will be a big step in bringing them closer to where they need to be.

India aims to increase its work output and efficiency in order to become the next big manufacturing hub, an anonymous Indian government official stated. There are “a lot of inputs" from industry lobby groups and foreign companies, including Foxconn and Apple, in the decision to amend Karnataka’s labour law, the official added.

The move comes as the state attempts to capitalise on the opportunity created by companies looking to reduce their reliance on Chinese manufacturing.

Last week, India’s electronics and IT minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, announced that Apple phones would be manufactured in a new 300-acre factory in Karnataka. However, Foxconn has not confirmed any factory plans.

The state passed an amendment to its application of the factories act, which now allows for 12-hour shifts, and the easing of rules for night-time work for women. The legislation increases the number of allowable overtime hours to 145 over a three-month period, up from 75, and caps maximum working hours at 48 per week.

The maximum length of shifts was increased from nine to 12 hours. Also, it loosened regulations for women working at night, who are underrepresented in India's labour force but controlling electronics production lines in China, Taiwan and Vietnam, the publication added. Meanwhile, Apple and Foxconn both declined to comment on their lobbying efforts.