Mumbai 24/7: Shop, dine and play all night long in the city from today
You can now shop for groceries late at night or enjoy a midnight meal at a local restaurant. The state government issued a notification to the Maharashtra Shops and Establishment Act, 2017, on Tuesday, allowing shops, including restaurants (that do not serve alcohol), cinema halls, salons, hyper malls and businesses such as banks, medical establishments and tax consultancies, to remain open 24x7 in the state. It does not include liquor shops and bars.
This means 35 lakh shops, including seven lakh in the state, are free to take a call on their preferred hours of business.
The amendment was initiated in accordance with the Centre’s Model Shops and Establishment Act, 2016, and was passed by both Houses of the state legislature in August. The notification was issued after the governor gave his nod to the legislation.
At present, shops are allowed to be open till 10pm, while commercial establishments have to shut by 9.30pm and restaurants by 12.30am. The amendment and notification also paves the way for night shifts for women from 9.30pm to 7am with their consent and certain regulations.
“We expect women-driven businesses to get a boost from this move. At least five lakh new licences are estimated to be issued under the act in the near future,” labour minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar told HT.
Establishments keen on extending hours of business will only have to give an online intimation to the ministry, including the number of employees they have hired.
The minister said the civic bodies and police will approach the state government if they wish to exclude any sector, area or type of business from this freedom of working hours. A separate notification will have to be issued to exclude those categories or areas.
The Act, however, has provisions to safeguard the interests of workers and ensure the safety of women. Operators will have to ensure their employees are not working for more than 9 hours a day in three separate shifts. The establishment will have to ensure protection to women by ensuring their safety, dignity and protection from sexual harassment. The employer will also have to provide transportation for women working after 9.30pm. The employees will be entitled to pay for overtime duties, paid leaves, first aide, canteen facilities and a creche.
Violations leading to serious injury or death of employees may lead to imprisonment of six months or a penalty of up to Rs5 lakh to the employer. Violation of other duties towards workers may attract a fine up to Rs2 lakh.
The main idea behind the legislation, a senior official said, was to improve ease of doing business. To that end, with this new law, establishments with less than 10 workers will not have to obtain a licence or need to renew their licences. Establishments with more than 10 workers will get licences in a time-bound manner.
“Of the 35 lakh shops and establishments, nearly 22.10 lakh are with zero employees and run by proprietors, while another 12.13 lakh (with 35.32 lakh workers) have between one and nine workers, and 84,702 establishments (32.22 lakh workers) have 10 or more workers,” said Nilangekar Patil.