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Shops, Malls, Eateries, Cinemas Can Now Be Open 24*7; IT Employees Exempted From 9 Hours Shift

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In a big boost to Indian economy & generation of new jobs, Govt. of India has allowed malls, shops, eateries, companies, factories to remain open 24*7, 365 days a year. This new rule has been passed after Union Cabinet cleared the The Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Services) Bill 2016.

As per Labour Ministry’s guidelines, various states can now implement this model law as per their own regulations, pertaining to specific cases. As Parliament’s approval is not required, this law is now applicable immediately.

Except manufacturing units, this new law applies to all commercial entities such as shopping malls, shops, departmental stores, cinemas, banks, offices, factories and warehouses. We had earlier reported about the possibility of this new law, which has now become a reality.

Point to noted here, that this law is only applicable to those commercial entities which have 10 or more employees.

Another notable announcement under this law is that highly skilled workers such as IT employees & bio-tech experts are now not required to work 9 hours a day and 48 hours a week. It is not yet clear as to how this will impact the working hours of present IT companies.

The main features of the draft model Bill are as follows:-

  • It will cover only establishments employing ten or more workers except manufacturing units.
  • The Bill provides for freedom to operate 365 days in a year and opening/closing time of establishment.
  • Women to be permitted during night shift, if the provision of shelter, rest room ladies toilet, adequate protection of their dignity and transportation etc. exists.
  • No discrimination against women in the matter of recruitment, training, transfer or promotions.
  • Online one common Registration through a simplified procedure.
  • Powers of Government to make rules regarding adequate measures to be taken by the employer for the safety and health of workers.
  • Clean and safe drinking water.
  • Lavatory, crèche, first aid and canteen by group of establishments, in case, it is not possible due to constraint in space or otherwise by individual establishment.
  • Five paid festival holidays in addition to national holidays etc.
  • Exemption of highly skilled workers (for example workers employed in IT, Biotechnology and R&D division) from daily working hours of 9 hours and weekly working hours of 48 hours subject to maximum 125 over-time hours in a quarter.

Earlier, Govt. had announced Rs 6000 crore package to improve labour conditions in garment factories.

As per analysts, implementation of this rule will result in 10% increase in jobs, all over India.

Having said that, security is a major issue which is in the minds of both employers and employees, especially women employees.

Although specific laws exist to ensure safety and security of women employees, such as The Factories Act 1948, Maternity Benefits Act 1961, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“SHA”) and more, implementation of these rules often takes a backseat.

Now, with 24 * 7 working allowed, employers would need to take special attention for implementing all these rules and ensuring wellbeing and safety of all workers.

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