Workers in India's Kerala state are now getting a three-hour afternoon siesta as part of a series of benefits aimed at combating soaring temperatures and improving labour conditions, government officials said yesterday.
Kerala, which suffered its worst floods in a century last year, is bracing itself for more extreme weather conditions in 2019 and the state's disaster management authority last week issued sunstroke warnings for the next three months.
"There is extreme heat in Kerala. So we are making arrangements for workers and have announced a three-hour break from noon until 3 p.m.," said Sreedharan Tulasidharan, a labour commissioner with the Kerala government.
There are an estimated 3 million migrant workers in Kerala, which offers daily wages that are up to three times higher than in other Indian states, labour rights campaigners say.
Most work in the construction, agriculture, mining and fishing industries.
"We call them our guests. Migrant workers' output is very high. Their productivity contributes to our GDP. We are nurturing and treating them well," Tulasidharan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.