The Government of Karnataka, through a notification on January 02, 2020, has permitted shops and commercial establishments in Karnataka employing 10 or more persons to remain open on a 24 x 7 basis on all days of the year for a period of 3 years, subject to certain conditions ("Notification").
The Government of Karnataka had issued a similar notification earlier on October 11, 2019 wherein shops and commercial establishments in Karnataka were permitted to remain open on 24 x 7 basis for a period of 3 years ("2019 Notification"). This Notification has been issued in partial modification of the 2019 Notification.
2. KEY PROVISIONS
All shops and commercial establishments in Karnataka, employing 10 or more persons, have been permitted to remain open on 24 x 7 basis on all days of the year for a period of 3 years from January 02, 2020, subject to the following conditions.
a) The employer has to appoint additional staff in order to allow every employee working in the establishment or shop to avail one holiday in a week on rotation basis, and the details of every employee has to be exhibited by the employer at a prominent place in the establishment.
It is, however, unclear at the moment as to the exact nature of the employee details that must be displayed.
b) The employer has to display the names of the employees who are on holiday or leave on a daily basis at a prominent place in the shop or commercial establishment.
c) The wages of the employees, including any overtime payments (if any), have to be credited to the savings bank account of the employees as provided under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936.
d) An employer should ensure that no employee works for more than 8 hours in a day and 48 hours in any week. Further, the period of work including overtime should not exceed 10 hours in a day.
e) If the employees are found working on any holiday or after normal duty hours without proper overtime, penal action will be initiated against the employer or the manager of the concerned shop or establishment.
f) Women employees can be required to work beyond 8 P.M. only if a written consent from the employee is obtained. Further, the employer must be responsible for her dignity, honour and safety.
Earlier, in October 2020, the Government of Karnataka had permitted women employees engaged in shops and commercial establishments to work night shifts, subject to certain terms and conditions.
g) The employer must make transport arrangements for its women employees who are working in night shifts. A notice also has to be exhibited at the main entrance indicating the availability of transport.
h) The employees have to be provided with restroom, washroom, safety lockers and other basic amenities.
i) Every employer employing woman employees must constitute an internal complaints committee under the Sexual Harassment of Woman at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
An employer or manager of a shop or an establishment shall be subjected to penal action if he or she is found to be in violation of any of the above conditions.
3. INDUSLAW VIEW
The Notification has been issued by the Government of Karnataka to boost economic growth and development which has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Notification expectedly has streamlined the maximum daily working hours of employees, inclusive of overtime.
The Notification, however, does not provide any maximum limit on the weekly hours including overtime hours an employee may work for, as it has been provided under the 2019 Notification. This in fact provides significantly more flexibility to employers for structuring the working hours of employees, as per market requirements.
The Notification is a praiseworthy development giving employers the flexibility to conduct its business round the clock and structure working hours as per market requirements, albeit while incurring certain additional costs due to the additional prescribed conditions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.