The cabinet has decided to amend the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act of 1960 to ensure the safety of female staff working in shops, hotels and restaurants. It also aims prevention of sexual exploitation of the women working in these establishments.The draft bill has been approved by the cabinet meet today.
It has been also decided to bring the temporary security staff appointed through security agencies under this Act. For this the act will be modified accordingly.
A clause to ensure availability of sitting space for staff in shops will be added in the Act. Earlier complaints were raised by staff, associations and social activists that staff in shops are not allowed to sit during working hours. The amended bill will also make sure the safety of female staff working at night.
Restriction will be in place for having female staff at work between 9 pm and 6 am. They are to be kept in shift only if more than 5 persons are in the group including two females.
Night shifts are to be planned safeguarding their dignity and pride. Shop owners should arrange transportation facility for those working at night.
At present the law doesnr allow females to be kept at work between 7 pm and 6 am. The amendment will be made replacing this clause with the safety regulations.
The draft also fortifies the female workforce against sexual assault at workplace. Also the clause that shops are to be closed down for one day in a week has been modified so that each staff could avail a day off in a week.