It’s official: Shops in Tamil Nadu can be kept open round the clock

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It’s official: Shops in Tamil Nadu can be kept open round the clock

Tamil Nadu has officially adopted the Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, which is a model legislation allowing for shops to be open round the clock. A gazette notification was issued by the state’s Labour and Employment Department, albeit with certain preconditions involving the safety of women employees.

“The Government after careful consideration, accepts the proposal of the Principal Secretary/ Commissioner of Labour and decided to permits all Shops and Establishments in Tamil Nadu to keep open for 24x7 for all days of the year initially for a period of three years with the conditions specified in the notification (sic),” the order said. The central government, which proposed the legislation in 2016, aims to bring about 'uniformity in the legislative provisions, thereby ensuring uniform working conditions across the country and facilitate the ease of doing business and generate employment opportunities.’

According to the conditions specified, "Women employee shall not be required to work beyond 8.00 pm on any day in normal circumstances. Provided that the employer, after obtaining the written consent of a woman employee, shall allow her to work between 8.00 pm and 6.00 am subject to providing adequate protection of her dignity, honour and safety.” It also mandates that transport arrangements shall be provided to the woman employee who works in these shifts. A notice to this effect shall be exhibited at the main entrance of the establishment indicating the availability of transport.

Further, the rules specify that every employer employing women employees shall constitute an Internal Complaints Committee against workplace sexual harassment. In addition to this, the notification calls for basic provisions such as restrooms, washrooms, safety lockers and other basic amenities for all employees.

Moreover, every employee shall be given one day off in a week on a rotation basis. Further, the details of every employee should be provided in the prescribed form and shall be displayed by the employer in a visible place on the premises. It also requires that an employer does not require or allow any person to work for more than eight hours in any day or 48 hours in any week and the period of work including overtime shall not exceed 10.5 hours in any day and 57 hours in a week.