New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday approved a new model law that would allow cinema halls, restaurants, shops, banks and other such workplaces to be open round the clock.
The law would also enable women to work during the night in shops and establishments with mandatory cab services and other workplace facilities for them.
The model law covers all premises — barring factories — or shops with work related to printing, banking, insurance; stocks and shares brokerage; theatres and “any other public amusement” which is currently not covered under the Factories Act 1948.
All such units which employee 10 or more workers will come under this Act.
‘When malls function 24/7, why can’t small shops?’
“The big malls in the country run 365 days a year but the smaller shops have to close on holidays,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recently, said in a TV interview.
“If the malls don’t have restrictions then why should the small shopkeepers have restrictions? So now if a shopkeeper operates his shop till late and on all seven days, if he earlier employed one person, now he will have to employ two people. So won’t the employment increase?” Mr. Modi added.
However, the implementation of the approved the Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act will depend on the States as it only acts as an advisory to the State governments which will have the option to either adopt this model law or make changes to it according to their local needs.
At present, States have their own rules related to shops and establishments which cover physical shops or workplaces regardless of the size of the unit. The law lays down statutory obligations and rights of employers and employees.
For the first time, workers’ right will be protected for those working in warehouses or workplace related to packaging activities. This will bring e-commerce companies under the labour law rulebooks as many of these companies face problems while operating godowns in various States.
According to provisions of the law, facilities such as cab services, night crèches and ladies toilet should be compulsorily provided by employers in case women are working during the night shift.