Cabinet passes model law: Malls, cinemas can stay open 24/7 for 365 days

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The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has considered the Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016 which allows shops, restaurants, cinemas, banks and other such establishments to be open round the clock for 365 days.

The Bill will be further sent to States/UTs so that they will be able to modify their individual Acts, if they so desire. The States/UTs can either adopt the Bill as it is or modify its provisions as per their requirements.

Objective : The model law is aimed at generating addition employment as the shops and establishment will have freedom to operate for longer hours requiring more manpower.

The main features of the draft model Bill are as follows:- 

 It will cover only establishments employing ten or more workers except manufacturing units. 

 The Bill provides for freedom to operate 365 days in a year and opening/closing time of establishment. 

 The bill provides for women to be employed on night shifts with adequate security , provision of rest rooms and transportation while also listing working conditions such as drinking water, canteens, first aid, lavatory and a creche.

 No discrimination against women in the matter of recruitment, training, transfer or promotions. 

 Online one common Registration through a simplified procedure. 

 Powers of Government to make rules regarding adequate measures to be taken by the employer for the safety and health of workers. 

 Clean and safe drinking water. 

 Lavatory, creche, first aid and canteen by group of establishments, in case, it is not possible due to constraint in space or otherwise by individual establishment. 

 Five paid festival holidays in addition to national holidays etc. 

 Exemption of highly skilled workers (for example workers employed in IT, Biotechnology and R&D division) from daily working hours of 9 hours and weekly working hours of 48 hours subject to maximum 125 over-time hours in a quarter.  

 Provides freedom to the establishment to operate 365 days and also their opening/closing time. 

Comment : The Model Bill would bring about uniformity in the legislative provisions, making it easier for all the States to adopt it and thereby ensuring uniform working conditions across the country and facilitate the ease of doing business and generate employment opportunities.

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