BENGALURU: IN a major initiative to provide equal opportunities for women in all sectors, the state government has removed restrictions on allowing women to work in night shifts in all sectors. Currently, women are allowed to be employed in night shifts only in IT and ITES sectors.
The Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961 and the Factories Act 1948 have been amended to make provision for women to work in night shift. The notification for implementation of the new provision has been issued, Labour minister Satosh Lad said
However, the permission to employ women in night shift comes with a slew of conditions to ensure their safety, security and privacy needs. These include written consent, provision of separate loos, first priority in pick-up and drop, among others.
The amendment has been brought to open both manufacturing and service sectors to women across shifts. This will help women, other than IT engineers to increase their family income, Lad said.
The move has been welcomed by trade and industrial bodies. Congratulating the Siddaramaiah government for allowing women to work in all sectors on night shifts, MC Dinesh, president of Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), said that it would benefit companies in manufacturing, especially garments, hospitality (star hotels), retail, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
Responding to the conditions on safety of women on night shift, Dinesh said, “Those who want to employ women on night shift would not mind implementing the measures to ensure their safety.”
Women’s organisations in the state are guarded in welcoming the move. “Ending gender discrimination and providing greater opportunities for women is a welcome move. But the state government should put in place stringent mechanism for enforcing the security conditions,” said KS Vimala, president of Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane.
Citing rampant violation of labour laws by companies in the state, Jyothi Anantha Subbarao, state president of National Federation of Working Women, has asked the government to ensure adequate measures are taken for enforcement of safety and security guidelines. “The companies should be asked to provide creche facility at such work places and also introduce facilities needed for pregnant and lactating women,” Jyothi told Express.