UP govt does away with night shift for women factory workers

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: In order to provide a secure working atmosphere for women and to protect their professional rights, the Uttar Pradesh government has taken a significant decision to do away with the night shift for the women workers in factories across the state.

The UP labour department issued the GO to notify the decision late Friday night. It makes it clear that women workers will not be compelled to stay back for work beyond 7 pm at the workplace and would not be called to work before 6 am without their written consent.

As per the sources, the decision would be applicable in the private sector as well. The GO adds that before 6 am and after 7 pm if the woman worker refuses to work, she would not be terminated from employment. So far there had been no provision for women workforce working in state factories.

The UP government has notified the exemptions to women workforce across all the mills and factories in the state under the powers vested in the Factories Act-1948 following the work plan of women employees.

Besides, the GO also provides free pick and drop transportation facilities by the employer for those who give written consent to work the night shift.

As per the GO, the employer will be liable to provide dinner to women workers working between 7 pm and 6 am. They should also be given sufficient protective supervision during working hours and journeys after completing the night shift.

The state government makes the employer liable to ensure toilets, washrooms, changing-room, drinking facilities, and lights near the workplace of the women workforce along with the provision of allowing not less than four women workers to work on the premises or a particular department between 7 pm to 6 am.

To spruce up the working environs and make it secure for women workers, the GO says that the employer shall intimate the arrangement proposed by him for female workers’ employment to the Inspector of factories (labour inspector) of the region concerned, for verification. The verification should be completed within a period of a maximum of seven days.

The employer is also expected to send a monthly report electronically or otherwise to the Inspector of factories of the region concerned about the details of women workers engaged during the night shift.

The employer has also been made liable to report, in case there is some untoward incident, to the Inspector of factories and local police station promptly.

On the other, the labour inspector has also been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring safe working conditions for women workers and conducting inspections from time to time to ensure that there is no non-compliance with the provisions at the workplace.

The onus of providing a secure working atmosphere to the women workers will lie with the employer to prevent an incident of sexual harassment in the workplace. Moreover, the GO makes it mandatory for the employer to inculcate a robust complaint mechanism in the factory in compliance with the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 or in any other related enactments.

The GO also expects the employer to make the women workers aware of their rights by displaying the guideline prominently.