The State government of Haryana by its earlier notifications had allowed IT, ITeS, Banking establishments, three-star or above hotels, hundred percent export-oriented establishments, logistics and warehousing establishments to seek exemption from employing women during night shifts (8.00 pm to 6.00 am) under the Punjab Shop and Commercial Establishments Rules, 1958.
The government in its notification dated February 21, 2023 has laid down certain guidelines for granting exemption to such establishments engaging women in nightshifts in supersession of all earlier notifications in this regard.
The notification states that no application for the grant of such an exception shall be entertained unless received by the labour authorities within one month prior to the date of commencement of the period in respect of which the exemption is prayed for. Such exemption will be valid for one year from the date of order of exemption unless there is any change in security, transportation agreements and other details of the occupier/director/manager.
For the grant of such an exemption, certain conditions have been placed on the employers which includes:
The employers must comply with the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, ensure express prohibition of sexual harassment, lay down rules and regulations relating to conduct and discipline prohibiting sexual harassment, provide for appropriate penalties against the offenders and introduce necessary amendments to their Standing Orders. The employers to ensure appropriate working conditions for women, initiate appropriate actions in accordance with penal law against the offenders, maintain a complaint redressal mechanism, make provisions for a special counsellor or other such support services as may be required and provide all necessary assistance to the affected person(s).
Additionally, a declaration stating that consent has been obtained from all women employees intended to work during the night shift, provision of security guards, adequate lighting both inside and outside the establishment, work sheds to be used during arrival and departure prior to and post the shift, transport facilities equipped with CCTVs to and from the establishment, and separate canteens (if the number of women employees is more than 50) except in IT and ITeS, would be necessary pre-requisites from the employer’s end for grant of such an exemption.
Furthermore, it is provided that not less than 1/3rd of the total workforce employed in a shift in logistics and warehousing establishments must be women, wherever an establishment provides boarding and lodging, such boarding and lodging must be exclusively for women and must be under the control of women wardens/supervisors.
The exemption is also subject to compliance with EPF, ESI and State Labour Welfare Fund requirements.