State of Karnataka allows Employment of Women during Night

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In a progressive move and to meet the ever-changing demands of the workplace dynamics, the Government of Karnataka, vide a Gazette Notification dated October 19, 2020, notified the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Act, 2020 (Amendment Act). The Amendment Act amends Section 25 of the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961 (“KSA”) which regulates employment of women at night.

Whilst, previously, under the KSA, only women employed in IT/ITES establishments were permitted to work at night (subject to compliance with the conditions prescribed for the grant of such permission), pursuant to the Amendment Act, any woman who is willing to, will be allowed to work in a shop or commercial establishment during night, subject to conditions which inter alia include:

(a)      Provisions of the KSA relating to daily & weekly hours, overtime wages, intervals of rest, spread over and weekly holidays will continue to apply;
(b)       Consent to work at night will be obtained in writing;
(c)        Free and secure transport facilities (with GPS for tracking and monitoring) from the residence to the workplace and vice versa;
(d)       Employment in the night shift will be on rotation basis;
(e)       Sufficient and separate rest rooms, electricity, lockers, latrines, dispensary & washing facilities, etc. to ensure privacy and employers to bear the cost of the crèche facilities availed;
(f)       Ensure pre-employment screening of the drivers (whether employed directly or outsourced);
(g)       Monitor movement of the vehicles through a travel-desk/control room;
(h)       Random checks of the vehicles on various routes from time to time by the company supervisor/service provider;
(i)        Route for pick-up and drop to be carefully selected such that no female employee is picked up first and dropped last;
(j)        No change in driver/route/shift without prior knowledge of the company supervisor/employee;
(k)      Provision of adequate security guards at the workplace and for the night shift vehicles, in case women employees are being picked up first or dropped last; and
(l)        Establishment may develop an application to facilitate easy contact during emergencies.

Failure to comply with the prescribed conditions may lead to cancellation of the registration certificate procured by the establishment/employer.

Date: October 31, 2020