Newly appointed Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath on Sunday advised his bureaucrats to work 18-20 hours a day in order to "better the condition of the state".
There has been no public reaction from the UP bureaucracy yet, but an online petition that was launched earlier last week has demanded that the Indian government should intervene and ensure that Indians are not made to work extra hours, which hamper their health and social life.
In just three days, the petition has attracted close to 40, 000 signatures supporting his stand.
The petitioner has asked the government to ensure that employees do not spend more than eight-and-a-half hours at work including breaks in a five-day work week.
The petition is addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda.
The Change.org petition created by Vinod Nair states, â€śMany Indian companies are exploiting our country's weak corporate employee working hour policies. Most Indian companies make their employees work for AT LEAST 9.5 to 12 hours daily and sometimes even 6 days a week, especially MNCs. This is due to a common mindset that more working hours means higher productivity for the company.â€ť
Nair says that due to these long hours at work, Indians are not able to work for the betterment of the country as suggested by PM Modi.
In his petition, Nair argues that often reducing work hours results in higher productivity and cited examples of countries which have benefitted from such regulations.
He also suggested that employers should be dealt with strictly and adequately punished for violating the work hoursâ€™ rule. He also suggested that a fixed work hoursâ€™ rule will also ensure more employment.
A Stanford University 2014 study observed that productivity was affected after a 50-hour work week and it further deteriorated after 55 hours of work in a weeksâ€™ time.
The study claimed that employees who put in 70 hours in a week actually delivers nothing more than persons working 55 hours in the same period.
Moreover, the study pointed out that often long hours resulted in absenteeism and higher employee turnover ratio.
Another study on the same said that while the Greeks put in 2,000 hours of work on average in a year compared to 1,400 by an average German, productivity of Germans were 70% more than that of the Greeks.