Model shops and establishment bill
The bill is ‘Model shops and establishment bill’ (Regulation of Employment and service bill), 2016. It states that shops, malls, restaurants, cinema halls, banks etc. can operate 24 hours with all 7 days and 24 hours. All such units which employee 10 or more workers are proposed to come under this Act. The draft law proposes to cover all premises, barring factories, or shops with work related to printing, banking, insurance, stocks and shares, brokerage or theatres, cinema and “any other public amusement” which is currently not covered under the ‘Factories Act, 1948’. However, the law will not apply for government offices and the Reserve Bank of India. So the government will not work for 24x7, though they expect the people to work for 24x7.
The bill has been passed by the Union Cabinet on 29th June, 2016. This bill is issued as an advisory to the states & it is up to the states to take it up or make changes and thus is subject ot state laws..
The Bill have protected the worker’s right while framing the law and is likely to give boost to the revenues of the service sector which can now open all day/night long.
Now for the first time, godowns, warehouses or workplace related to packaging activities are proposed to be covered under the law, as per the draft model law. The key features of the bill are it provides freedom to operate 365 days in a year & opening/closing time of establishment. Employees can work a maximum of 9 hours a day and 48 hours a week. Any time spent over and above these limits will be treated as overtime; a maximum of 125 hours per quarter is allowed.
There is no gender inequality as they have kept Article 14 of constitution in their mind by permitting women for night shifts with necessary amenities & adequate protection of their dignity & calls for better working conditions for employees such as drinking water, canteen, first aid, lavatory and crèche. There is no discrimination against women in matter of recruitment, transfer, training or promotions.
The bill contains 5 paid festival holidays in addition to national holidays. Model bill brings uniformity in legislative provisions by making it easier for all states to adopt it. It also ensures uniform working conditions across the country & ease of doing business. By this all the restaurant, cinema etc. owners are happy as they had waited a lot for this bill. Their income also increases & its beneficial to the public too as if someone has been to office & comes late home he does not have to wait for another day.
Sadly, the bill does not cover manufacturing units & Government offices and further the bill attempts to discriminate between the traders. The provision that the bill will cover only establishments employing 10 or more workers would deny the fundamental rights of other businesses who are either self employed or have less than 10 workers. This can lead to consequences which should be fixed. Otherwise the bill is beneficial which has potential to boost the economy and can provide additional employment opportunity.