Women to be allowed to work night shifts at shops, state cabinet clears new law


Team Udayavani, Dec 31, 2019, 9:43 AM IST

Bengaluru: Karnataka cabinet on Monday approved a bill to amend an act aimed at allowing women employees to work during night in entities covered by the Shops and Commercial Establishments Act.

The cabinet approved the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that will amend the act of 1961, specifying certain conditions, including provision of transport facilities free of cost and deployment of adequate security guards.

Briefing reporters on the cabinet decisions, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said there was no opportunity for women to work in the entities, which includes offices and premises of any trade or business, in the night shifts so far.

“In order to provide opportunity for them we have decided to amend the act by defining what sort of protection should be provided for them for working in night,” he said.

Under the act, ‘shops’ means any premises where any trade or business is carried on or where services are rendered to customers and includes offices, storerooms, godowns, warehouses, used in such connection with such trade or business, but does not include a commercial establishment or a shop attached to a factory.

The bill is likely to be brought in the assembly during the first session of 2020 to be held in February.

The latest move comes a month after the state government issued a notification allowing women to work in night shifts (7 pm to 6 am) in all factories registered under the Factories Act.

The amendment bill states that a woman employee who is so willing may be allowed to work during night subject to conditions including willingness to be obtained in writing, provision of transport facilities by the establishment from the residence of the woman employee to the workplace and back free of cost and with adequate security.

Also, such transport facility shall have GPS for tracking and monitoring.

Besides, adequate number of security guards, sufficient rest rooms and dispensary facility among others should be provided during the night shift for the benefit of the women employees, it said.

The establishment shall bear the cost of creche obtained by the women employees from voluntary or other organisations and conduct pre-employment screening of the antecedents of all drivers employed.

An App in mobile may be developed and adopted by the establishment through which the women employee can contact the concerned at the time of emergency, it added.

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