India Country Profile - Working Practices

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Working hours

The working week in India can be five days from Monday to Friday or six days from Monday to Saturday depending on the type of work you do. Hours are usually up to 48 per week, but overtime is often expected and not always paid as the competitive nature of the labour market encourages people to go above and beyond what is expected of them.


The statutory minimum holiday entitlement for employees in India is 12 days, although workers in international firms can expect significantly more than this. Sick leave and maternity leave are usually accounted for in Indian employment contracts. There is no legal requirement for employers to recognise paternity leave or adoption leave requests, but many international firms operating in India will do so.

Public holidays

In India, only three public holidays are observed nationally: Republic Day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, which are observed on the same date each year. The other public holidays are set annually by state governments according to cultural traditions and religious sensibilities. As a result, the number of public holidays can vary between by several days depending on where you live. Detailed holiday information for each state can be found on the National Portal of India website.

National holiday dates

Republic Day: 26th January

Independence Day: 15th August

Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday: 2nd October

Visas and eligibility to work

Almost every visitor to India requires a visa before they can enter the country. The application process may differ from country to country, so it’s recommended that you contact the local Indian embassy or consulate in your home country to find out the specific requirements. In many cases, applications can be made through the Online Portal for Visa Application. To apply for an employment visa you may need proof of a job offer in India. In some cases health checks will be made on arrival. If you intend to stay for more than six months you will also need to register at the local Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office or police station within 14 days of arrival.

Tax and National Insurance

India operates a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system with tax deducted from your wages at variable rates depending upon the amount of money you earn. If your income will exceed the basic tax threshold, you must apply for a Permanent Account Number (PAN). The tax year runs from April to March, and you are usually considered resident for tax purposes after six months of residency in India. As well as registering as an Indian tax payer, you may need to file tax returns.

Social security

Welfare benefits are provided in India by the Employees' Provident Fund, although it’s believed that only 10% of the population are actually covered by this scheme. However, foreign nationals are enrolled and along with their employer will make contributions directly from their wages. If you are paying into the fund, you should be able to access state benefits as required. However, if your country has a social security agreement with India, you can request exemption from the contribution and continue to access benefits at home. Alternatively, private pension and healthcare schemes may be offered by your employer.


Although India offers various supporting benefits for disabled people, disability discrimination laws are relatively new and enforcement can vary. Disabled workers may find it difficult to get a job or make any adjustments necessary to enable them to work. However, perceptions are changing, and the growing number of international companies also represents an opportunity for disabled workers to forge careers in India.

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