Kerala Govt Brings Ordinance To Give Employees 'Right To Sit' In Shops & Establishments [Read Ordinance]

Kerala Govt Brings Ordinance To Give Employees

The Kerala Government has promulgated an Ordinance to give employees the 'right to sit', by amending the provisions of Kerala Shops and Establishments Act 1960. The Ordinance titled 'The Kerala Shops and Establishments(Amendment) Ordinance 2018' was promulgated by the Governor of Kerala and notified in the Gazette on October 4.

It contains a mandatory condition to provide seating arrangements to employees who otherwise have to be on their feet for long hours. Section 21B introduced in the principal Act by the Ordinance states that "in every shop and establishment, suitable arrangements for sitting shall be provided for all workers so as to avoid "on the toes" situation throughout the duty time, so that they may take advantage of any opportunity to sit which may occur in the course of their work".

The violation of the Section will attract penalty and fine under the Act. Section 29 of the Act, which prescribes fine for violation of the provisions of the Act, has been amended by the Ordinance to include the newly inserted Section 21B.  The fine amount has also been increased by the Ordinance from five thousand rupees for first time offence to rupees one lakhs, and ten thousand rupees for second or subsequent offence to rupees two lakhs.

Earlier, saleswomen in textile shops had staged protests for “right to sit” against the compulsory requirement to stand for long hours, which extended in many cases to more than 10 hours a day. They also complained that they were not permitted to even go to the washroom during their working hours. The National Human Rights Commission had taken note of the pathetic working conditions of female staff in textile retail shops in Kerala. The Ordinance intends to remedy this situation.

Further, the proviso inserted to Section 20 by the Ordinance permits night shifts for women, but with the condition that in a group of five members put on the night shift, at least two should be women, and that the employer should arrange travel arrangements and security for women working during night shifts.  The present law prohibits employment of women between 7 pm and 6 am.

Section 11 has been substituted by the Ordinance to state that every employee should be given at least one whole day leave per week.

(Image sourced from here)

Read the Ordinance here