Towards encouraging woman’s participation in the workforce
- As per the new Companies Act, 2013, every listed company or every other public company having paid-up share capital of one hundred crore rupees or more or turnover of three hundred crore rupees or more is mandated to appoint at least one-woman director in its Board of Directors.
- Shops and Establishments in State of Telangana can remain open for all 365 days of the year subject to certain conditions including arranging transport facilities to women employees who are required to work beyond 8:30 P.M. [Guidelines for permitting all Shops & Establishments to keep open on all 365 days of the year in Telangana State].
- The Maharashtra Shops and Establishment Act, 1948 has been amended to bring about flexible working hours for women workers, etc. The following conditions are provided with respect to Software and Information Technology Establishments including Customer Service Care Centres operating through computer in State of Maharashtra:
- Special arrangement should be made for protection of female employees working before 6 a.m. and after 8.30 p.m. including transport;
- Female employees should be provided job jointly or in group;
- Arrangement of rest room and lockers should be made for women employees.
- The Cabinet has approved the Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 2015 (“Model Act”) on 29thJune, 2016. The Model Act has been circulated among all the state government/s and will work as guidance for various States, which may consider either replacing their existing Shops and Establishment Act by adopting the Model Act or by making amendments to the existing state laws to bring them in sync with the Model Act. The Model Act will cover only establishments employing ten or more workers except manufacturing units. The Act will boost employment opportunities for women as they will be permitted to work during night shifts with adequate safety and security provisions. The key highlights of the Model Act are as follows:
- Leverage to operate 365 days with the flexibility to open and close at their convenience.
- Women will be permitted to be employed in night shifts with adequate security.
- No discrimination against women in the matter of recruitment, training, transfer or promotions.
- Provision for better working conditions for workers which include facilities such as clean and safe drinking water, canteen, first aid, lavatory and crèche.
- Uniform rules regarding leave across the country
- 12 days casual cum sick leave.
- 1 day earned leave for every 20 days of work performed (can be accommodated up to 45 days).
- 5 paid holidays for festivals in addition to 3 national holidays.
- Exemption of highly skilled workers (for example workers employed in I.T., Bio-Technology and R & D division) from daily working hours of 9 hours and weekly working hrs of 48 hrs subject to maximum 125 over-time hours in a quarter.
- Facilitators may be appointed by the Government with the following duties.
- Supply information and advice to employers and workers concerning complying with the provisions of the Act.
- Inspect the establishment based on inspection scheme framed by the Government.
- Amongst various States which have prescribed the conditions to be followed by an employer who employ women during night shifts it is interesting to mention that under the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1958 (as applicable in the State of Haryana) woman have an option to work during night shifts subject to the employer having the necessary safety and security measures in place. Some of the conditions are as follows:
- The management must furnish the security contract executed by the company with an appropriately licensed/ Registered security agency under the Shops & Commercial Establishment Act, 1958. A copy of the contract along with License Details of the security agent must be submitted within 7 days from any change in the arrangement.
- The management must conduct an annual self-defence Training workshop for the women employees.
- The management must maintain a Daily Attendance Register.
- The security guards on duty need to ensure that the women employees board the transport facility in their presence.
- The Security Incharge/ Management also have to maintain the Boarding Register/ Digitally Signed Computerized Record which should clearly mention the Date, Name of the Model & Manufacturer of the Vehicle, Vehicle Registration No., Name of the Driver, Address of the Driver, Phone Contact No. of the Driver/ Vehicle, Time of pickup of the Women Employees from the Establishment/ Destination, Details of Women & Male employees Traveling in the Vehicle & Name of the Security Guard in the Vehicle & Time of reporting back to the establishment after dropping all the women employees/ Pick up from the destination.
- Adequate Security to be provided in the transport facility vehicle.
- Maintenance of attendance Register of the security guard/s by the management/ Security Incharge.
- The management must provide for a separate “Women Room” with attached toilet / bathroom.
- The management shall ensure protection of women from sexual harassment at work place.
- The management will submit the complete list of Women Employee/s working in the establishment, to the Labour Department within 30 days from the grant of the exemption. The management will submit the details of any Women Employee to the Labour Department within 15 days of her joining/ relieving from the establishment.
- The Management will maintain a Record Register of Women Employeesworking in the Establishment on Monthly Basis and it will include the Name of the Women Employee, Age, Father’s Name/ Mother’s Name, Husband’s/ Guardian’s Name, Designation, Temporary Address & Phone Info., Permanent Address & Phone Info., Date of Joining the Establishment, Date of Relieving the Establishment, No. of days worked in the previous Month during the Evening/ Night Shifts in the Previous Month & No. of days worked during the Day Shifts in the Previous Month.
- The management will issue photo identity cards to all the women employees. The identity cards shall clearly bear the Name of the employee, Father’s Name, Age, Temporary & Permanent Address, Phone Contact No. of the Employee, Distress Call No. of the Establishment & All Emergency Service Nos.
- The no. of women employees should not less than 10% of the male employees in the evening/ night shifts. In any case the management will not employ a Woman Employee alone, during the night shift in the establishment.
- The management will conduct an annual workshop for all the women employees making terms aware of the assessment and harassment policy of the company.
- The guidelines framed by the Company/ Management for the harassment policy shall be displayed on the Notice Board of the establishment.
- The above exemption shall be further subject to the condition that the management will continue to have a valid registration certificate issued under Section 13 of the Punjab shops and commercial establishment Act, 1958, and rules made the under.
- Any other conditions as may be subjected in this regard by the Labour Department from time to time.
6. The Factories (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2015 has amended the provision of Factories Act, 1948 thereby allowing women workers to work even between the hours of 7.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. in any factory, in which adequate safety and security measures or safeguards like providing free conveyance from their residence to factory and back, creche facility and food/snacks/tea facilities for the use of women workers employed between 7.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m., etc. are provided to such employees.
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