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Explained: The guidelines for shops, commercial establishments to operate 24×7 in Karnataka

The revision of rules by the Labour Department is expected to help businesses recover from financial difficulties they faced during the coronavirus-induced lockdown which led to a decline in economic activity.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal , Edited by Explained Desk | Bengaluru | Updated: January 6, 2021 8:35:05 am
Pedestrians and traffic move along Brigade Road in Bangalore (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg/File)

The Karnataka government has allowed all shops and commercial establishments to operate round the clock all days of the week for the next three years under provisions of the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act (1961). The revision of rules by the Labour Department is expected to help businesses recover from financial difficulties they faced during the coronavirus-induced lockdown which led to a decline in economic activity.

Here is a deep dive into the new guidelines:

Are these revised rules applicable to all shops?

No. The rules, which have been partially modified by the government, permits only shops and commercial establishments employing ten or more persons to operate 24×7. The period of this extension of timings will be in force till January 2, 2024.

What should employers do to ensure an establishment can operate round the clock?

Employers have been directed to appoint additional staff which enables every employee to avail one day holiday in a week on a rotation basis. Details of each employee should be exhibited in the shop or business establishment as well, also mentioning who is on leave on a daily basis.

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Can employees be asked to work overtime?

While the permitted time allowed for each employee to work in a week is fixed at 48 hours per week (eight hours a day), employers can ask them to work overtime. However, the period of work including overtime should not exceed 10 hours a day. The employees are also entitled to get overtime wages, which the employer is directed to credit to their savings bank account as prescribed under the Payments of Wages Act (1963).

Are women employees allowed to work during late night hours?

No. Women employees are not allowed to work beyond 8 pm on any day in normal circumstances. However, they can be allowed to work between 8 pm and 6 am after the employer obtains a written consent. The employer is then responsible to provide adequate protection to each woman employee’s dignity, honour, and safety.

What other facilities should employers guarantee to each employee?

Employees should be provided with restroom, washroom, safety lockers, and other basic amenities at their workplaces. At the same time, transport arrangements shall be made available to women employees who work in shifts. The availability of transport should also be exhibited at the main entrance of the establishment.

What action will be taken against an employer found violating the norms?

The order specifies penal action will be initiated against the employer or the manager of the establishment in the event an employee is found working on any holiday or after normal duty hours without a proper indent of overtime. An internal complaints committee should be constituted to attend grievances against sexual harassment of women under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (2013).

Owners/employers/managers have also been ordered to implement all terms and conditions specified in the Karnataka Shops and Establishments Act and the Workmen’s Compensation Act (1923), failing in which they will be charged with penal procedures.

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