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Cinemas, Malls to stay open 24/7: Cabinet permits Night Shift for Women

The successful implementation of the Act depends on states, as the cabinet is only an advisory to state governments

  • The bill is expected to open the floodgates to various employment opportunities
  • The model law will also empower women by providing them with an opportunity to work on night shifts
  • It has a provision for five paid festival holidays, apart from the national holidays

The cabinet on Wednesday, June 29, cleared that it will allow malls, shops, cinema theatres to operate 24/7, throughout the year.

The move which can add thousands of additional skilled jobs is also seen as an effective way to encourage employment. The bill will also empower women by providing them with an opportunity to work on night shifts, given mandatory cab services and other workplace facilities for them.

In a statement, Labour and Employment minister said, “Women to be permitted during the night shift- if the provision of shelter, restroom, ladies toilet, adequate protection of their dignity and transportation etc. exists.”

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said, the bill intends to end the “protective discrimination” that limited employment opportunities for women.

However, the government clarified that the bill’s success will depend on the states, iterating that it only acts as an advisory to state governments.

Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal told The Hindu, “We will send it to the States immediately. The model law will be a ready made material for the State governments as this has taken shape after several rounds of extensive consultation within various ministries and the Cabinet.”

The bill has also proposed to exempt highly-skilled professionals like those in information technology sector or bio-technology from a daily nine-hour shift and has allowed them weekly 48 working hours.

It has also put forward a provision for five paid festival holidays, apart from the national holidays.

The law also brings various sectors (except factories) like printing, banking, insurance, stocks and shares brokerage, and “any other public amusement” which are currently not covered under the Factories Act 1948, under it. Even the small establishments that employ 10 or more workers will be taken care of in this Act, reported The Hindu.

The decision is viewed to bring parity in the legislative process and will even bring e-commerce companies under the labour law ambit.

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