Section 66 (1) (c) of the Factories Act, 1948, which restricted women from working in factories between 7 PM and 6 AM, has now been amended. After a meeting of the state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai, it was decided that women in the state will now be able to work night shifts. This decision has been taken keeping in mind that management departments of the concerned workplaces will have to ensure security of women working in during these hours.
According to a report by Times of India, Venugopal Dhoot, chairman of the Videocon group, one of the employers who will benefit from the amendment, said, “We have factories the world over and women are employed in night shifts. We generally take responsibility for the security of our women employees during factory working hours. We have more than 10,000 women employees in India. We welcome the bold step.”
Maharashtra will now be joining Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, among other Indian states that already allow women to work night shifts and will further help with improving the gender-based wage-gap in the country.
Prior to these changes, all factories that used electricity and employed 10 or more workers, or factories not running on electricity yet employing 20 or more workers- fell under the jurisdiction of the Factories Act. The government has decided to change this and from now on, establishments with 20 or more employees using power, and the ones with 40 workers but no power- will fall under the act.
Under the same act the cabinet also made amendments that will ensure the freedom of 14,300 factories from ‘inspector raj.’ And about 190,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the state. Along with this, the act also makes workers eligible for paid leave after working for 90 days in a year, instead of 240 days or more.
[Featured Picture Courtesy: Daily Mail.co.uk]
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