Already in spring 2012, the Bangladesh government published an official notice in their Gazette announcing an exemption to the limits of overtime work. Factories can hence extend their working time by up to 4 hours per day of overtime work instead of 2 hours per day without negotiating any special permission from the workforce.
The exemption to the working time limits took effect on 22 March 2012 and will still run until 22 September 2012. It means that factories can extend overtime work by up to 24 hours per week making a total working week of 72 hours. With this exemption, Bangladesh puts itself well outside both the International Labor Organization (ILO) recommendations as well as the most acknowledged Codes of Conduct and labor standards.
All other conditions concerning rest breaks, overtime payments and other benefits continue to apply.
It is believed that most factories will take advantage of this exemption in order to cope with the peak season in their production of export orders. However, this exemption may attract increasing interest of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others in the working conditions within the Bangladesh garment sector.
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