The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) — a shopkeepers’ association covering over 1 lakh shops between Thane and south Mumbai — has decided to open shops after 1 pm on October 13.
FRTWA has requested employees to report to work after casting their votes.
“We appreciate the government’s concern to ensure that everyone exercises their right to vote. However, mandatory closures may result in citizens planning alternative activities out of the city,” said Viren Shah, President of FRTWA.
Shah was reacting to a government resolution issued by the state Labour Department on October 1 that makes it compulsory for owners of shops, malls, and other establishments to grant paid leave to its employees who want to cast their votes.
Labour Secretary Kavita Gupta on Wednesday said the state does not expect establishments to shut shop, and can function as long as they do within law.
“We have consulted legal experts. Considering we are a people and labour intensive industry and if the state orders for closure of shops, they will have to compensate for our losses, around Rs 500 crore. We will see to it that our employees vote and get a full day’s salary. We are only requesting them to work after 1 pm,” said Shah.
He added that those who do not come to work after voting will also be given a paid holiday.
Payal Ganatra, (23) who works with a fitness store in a Vashi mall, said: “I will vote and then go to work, as long as I am paid for the entire day.”