The Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2017 (“Act”) lays down conditions for employment of women in general, and/or during night-shifts.
General measures to be taken for women employed at workplaces:
1. The employer shall strictly implement the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
2. The employer shall take all necessary and reasonable steps to assist the affected women workers.
3. To provide proper lighting and illumination inside and surrounding the establishment for safety purposes.
4. To maintain a complaint box, displaying the phone numbers of local police station, control room and women help line number prominently in the establishment.
5. A sufficient number of woman security guard shall be engaged and Police verification of such women security guard shall be mandatory.
6. Every establishment to maintain separate urinals and latrines with safety locking facility only from inside.
Additional measures to be taken towards women workers in night shifts:
1. Woman workers shall be allowed to work during 9.30 p.m. and 7.00 a.m. in any establishment only after obtaining her consent in Form ‘L’as prescribed in the Act.
2. Establishment shall provide safe and secure separate transportation facility for all the women workers working in the night shift and details of the workers engaged in this duty shall be mandatorily updated with the establishment.
3. Every woman worker in night shift shall be eligible for one additional paid holiday for every two months in a year.
4. No women worker shall be allowed to work in night shift during the period of twenty-four weeks before and after her child birth.
Other general rules regarding night shift applicable to all workers (men and women):
1. Every employer shall display a notice on his website showing the hours of work, rest- interval, weekly holiday in Form ‘M’.
2. Work shall not be carried out in any establishment by means of a system of shift so arranged that more than one relay of workers is engaged in work of the same kind at the same time.
3. In case of establishment operating in shift, the employer shall display well in advance a shifschedule, alongwith weekly holiday in Form ‘N’
The aforementioned rules shall be built into the company’s policies and non-compliance shall attract inquiries from the Local Authority.
Women nowadays are significantly more educated, have higher ambitions, and compete for higher positions within an organization on an equal footing with males. A conscious effort by the employers and employees must be made to establish favourable working conditions considering health, social and mental health issues. Thus women should be educated about their constitutional and legal rights in the work environment and in society.
The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Key words: Sexual Harassment, Night Shift.
References: Notification no. MSA 11/ 2017/ CR 298/ Labour enforcing the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2017