The state government of Maharashtra issued a notification to the Maharashtra Shops and Establishment Act, 2017 on Tuesday. This notice allows shops including restaurants (that do not serve alcohol) to remain open 24×7 in the state. It also includes cinema halls, salons, hyper malls and businesses such as banks, medical establishments and tax consultancies and it does not include bars and liquor shops.
The bill was passed in both houses of the state legislature in August, the notification was issued after getting the nod of governor. At present, shops are allowed to be open till 10 pm, commercial ones have to be shut at 9.30 pm and restaurants by 12.30 am. As per the new notification, women will be allowed to do night shift from 9.30 pm to 7 am with their consent and certain regulations.
“We expect women-driven businesses to get a boost from this move. At least five lakh new licences are estimated to be issued under the act in the near future,” labour minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar told
The ministry said the civic body and police can approach the government if they want to exclude any sector, are or type of business from this freedom of working. The act will cover all the safety majors of women. The establishment will have to ensure protection to women by ensuring their safety, dignity and protection from sexual harassment. The employer has to provide transportation to women who are working after 9.30 pm.
Violation of the act can be lead to imprisonment of six months or a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh to the employer. Violation of other duties towards workers may attract a fine up to Rs 2 lakh.
“Of the 35 lakh shops and establishments, nearly 22.10 lakh are with zero employees and run by proprietors, while another 12.13 lakh (with 35.32 lakh workers) have between one and nine workers, and 84,702 establishments (32.22 lakh workers) have 10 or more workers,” said Nilangekar Patil.