Union Cabinet approves the Model Shops & Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016

The Union Cabinet on 29 June 2016, approved the Model Shops & Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016 (“Model Bill”), which was introduced by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in January this year. The Model Bill seeks to ensure uniformity of the legislative provisions in various states to facilitate the ease of doing business and generate employment opportunities. States can adopt or carry out necessary amendments in their respective laws in accordance with the Model Bill.

The key highlights of the Model Bill are:

(i) It is applicable to shops and establishments employing 10 or more workers.

(ii) It provides establishments with the freedom to operate 365 days in a year and to determine their opening and closing time.

(iii) It provides for employees to work a maximum of 9 hours a day and 48 hours a week and any additional time spent would be treated as overtime with a maximum of 125 overtime hours permitted per quarter. Employees may not work for more than 5 hours at a stretch without a break and are entitled to 1 rest day per week. Highly skilled workers (for example workers employed in IT, Biotechnology and R&D division) are exempt from this provision.

(iv) It permits women to work during night shifts, provided the employer arranges for adequate shelter, night crèche, rest room, ladies toilet, transportation etc.

(v) It prohibits discrimination against women in the matter of recruitment, training, transfer or promotions.

(vi) It provides that lavatory, crèche, first aid and canteen can be collectively provided by a group of establishments, in case separate ones are not possible due to constraint in space or otherwise.

(vii) It provides for online common registration through a simplified procedure.

The relevant notification may be accessed at: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=0