The Union Cabinet approved the Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016 on June 29, 2016. The bill is a welfare legislation aimed at bringing uniformity in regulation of employment and conditions of service throughout the country. As this subject falls within the State List, States have been granted autonomy to adopt and modify this Model bill as per their requirement. This Model Bill was finalized after detailed discussions with public, through internet and with employees/labour representatives, employer’s association/federations and State Governments through Tripartite Consultations process. This bill would be applicable to shops and establishments employing ten or more workers except manufacturing units
Some of the major reforms this bill seeks to propose are:
Working Hours of Employees: Establishments are permitted to operate on all days in a year and can also decide their opening and closing timings. The Model Bill puts a cap that employees can work for a maximum of 9 hours a day and 48 hours a week, and up to a maximum overtime of 125 hours in a quarter. Highly skilled workers (for e.g. workers employed in IT, Biotechnology and R&D division) are exempted from these provisions of maximum working hours.
Non Discrimination of Female Employees: There shall be no discrimination against female employees in matters of recruitment, training, transfers, promotion or wages. Women would be allowed to work during 6 AM and 9 PM. The Model Bill also grants liberty to women to work in a night shift only if employer provides facilities like night crèche, ladies toilet, protection from sexual harassment, transportation from establishment to their residence doorstep.
Employee Welfare provisions: The Model Bill seeks to propose a number of welfare provisions including provisions for drinking water, lavatory, crèche, first – aid and canteen facilities and employer’s responsibility for health and safety of the workers.
Employees Leave: The Model Bill entitles every employee to 8 days casual leave, one day of leave for every 20 days of work for every worker who has worked 240 days in a subsequent year and 8 days of paid leave for festival holidays.
In addition to the abovementioned reforms, online registration through a simplified procedure and other reforms have also been proposed by this Model Bill.
Conclusion: The Model Bill is truly a welfare legislation and much awaited reform, aimed at protecting the interest of the employees. This bill is indeed an applaudable step by Central Government towards employment generation. One of the most noteworthy reforms of this bill is the provision of non-discrimination against women, since it would enable women to work during the night shift with sufficient security and safety provisions aimed at enhancing the gender diversity and creation of more employment opportunities. The retail sector especially the shopkeepers stand to benefit most out of this model bill as it would result in elimination of licencing bureaucracy and bribery, thus resulting in decline of corruption. The Model bill is certainly a positive one and would improve the working conditions, creation of more employment opportunities and provide favorable environment for doing business. The Union Cabinet has given nod to this Model Bill taking into account the spirit of cooperative federalism and it would be sent to the States to adopt the bill as it is or modify it to suit their requirement. We hope that this Model Bill would be enforced soon and sees light of the day to bring uniformity in regulation and conditions of service across the country.
 “Cabinet considered the Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016”, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment, June 29, 2016.
 “Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016 to Boost Employment Generation in General, Specially for Women: Shri Bandaru Dattatreya”, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment, July 1, 2016.