The Department of Labour, Government of Punjab (“Labour Department”) has vide Notification No. Labour-Lab0PSCA/2/2021-5L/I/325484/2022 dated March 03, 2022 formulated a scheme for giving exemption under provisions of Section 30 of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishment Act 1958 (“Act”), which lays down the conditions for employment of women in establishments. The exemption under the Act will be given on a case-to-case basis upon receipt of applications from duly registered shops/establishments situated in the state of Punjab and would be granted subject to certain terms and conditions, including:
- Total number of hours of work of an employee in the establishment shall not exceed 9 hours on given day and 48 hours in a week and the spread over, inclusive of rest interval, shall not exceed 12 hours on any given day;
- Total hours of overtime work shall not exceed 50 hours in any one quarter and the overtime work shall be remunerated at double the rate of normal wages calculated by the hour;
- ln the night shift, minimum of five women employees shall be employed;
- Management will ensure protection of women from sexual harassment at workplace in terms of the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Vishaka & Others Vs. State of Rajasthan vide Judgment dated August 13, 1997 and the manager of the establishment will be required to abide by the provisions of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, prohibition and Redressal) Act. 2013;
- Management will provide adequate security and proper transport facility to the women workers, including contract employees during the evening/night shifts and ensure that emergency call numbers are prominently displayed inside the vehicle;
- No employee of any establishment shall knowingly employ a woman and no woman shall engage in employment in any establishment during six weeks following the day of her confinement or miscarriage.
To increase participation of women workforce, the Labour Department has brought in such measures so that women will be allowed to work in night shifts across all sectors, with adequate safety and measures being taken by establishments. This is a welcome move as it will incentivize and empower more women, who form an integral part of the workforce in India, to increasingly participate and boost overall economic development.