• Commercial establishments can now stay open 24 hours, but can women in Delhi afford to work night shifts?

    Recently, the Union Cabinet has passed a model law wherein now malls, shops, multiplexes and other commercial establishments will be allowed remain to open twenty-four hours. This is followed by another proposal made by the law which says that women are allowed to work in places in an overnight work schedule. One condition is set by the cabinet which is that the state must confer to this model law.

    Once the states allow, the shops and other commercial entities can start working round the clock. Any place to continue working all day and night will have to have at least 10 workers working for it with flexible working hours. And this model law does not cover manufacturing units. These are some of the guidelines laid down by the law announced by finance minister, Arun Jaitley on Wednesday.

    Also read: Delhi still the rape capital, but more women coming forward to report cases: Report

    He also claimed that this law does away with the “positive discrimination’ against women as it allows them to work even during the night hours. But the shops employing women will have to offer better working conditions for women. Also the safety and security of women will be looked after. Facilities like crèches, late-night drops, lavatory and first aid will need to be made available to women in such establishments. The government also claims that women will be subject to no discrimination in terms of pay, transfer, promotion etc.

    Even as this seems like a win-win situation for business as well as employees, for women employees, safety will be a major concern. More so in a city like Delhi, where incidents of harassment and abuse are commonplace even during the day. In such a situation, would the women of the city venture out to take up jobs in night-shifts?

    A few women staying in Delhi talked about their views on this move. “I feel it is so cool since now more people will be out on the roads even at late nights and this might make it more safer for women who work late nights already,” says Neha Saxena, a Delhi University graduate about this new law. While Kritika Sharma who is currently in a private firm does not feel so hopeful, “With so many news coming of rapes and other crimes against women from the city, I don’t think it is still any safe for women to travel after 10p.m.”

    “Until we have a sure shot security system in place that has the trust of Delhi women that nothing will happen to them, it is not possible,” claimed Megha Gupta, an ex-employee of Jiva Ayurveda who did not apply for a job in Delhi because of the late working hours involved.

    Also read: Towards making the Capital safer for women: Panic buttons in Delhi buses

    Undoubtedly this law is a very progressive move as it will no doubt boost sales, and create a fresh wave of employment opportunities. But a thought will definitely be needed to be spared for women safety.

    Feature Image credit: Cabi San Lucas Tour

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