Shops remain open 24×7 may boost retail jobs by 50%

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Job creation is set to get a boost with the approval of the Model Shops and Establishment (regulation of employment and condition of services) Bill, which allows shops to remain open 24×7 . Hiring experts said the bill, if adopted by states, could lead to a 10% growth in jobs in the short term across retail, IT and services sector. It will also make it easier for employers to have women working in night shifts, giving a leg-up to gender diversity as well.
“Retail and hospitality are the key sectors that will benefit from this kind of flexibility directly and immediately,” said Moorthy K Uppaluri, MD & CEO, Randstad India. Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India, said the total number of people employed by the retail industry could go up by 50 per cent to 6 crore by 2020. At present, the retail industry employs 4 crore people. The new model bill, if adopted along with a comprehensive retail policy, would also provide opportunities for women to partake in the growth story of retail, where 92 per cent of industry comprises traditional retail. The gender diversity of the Indian retail sector is currently at 20-23 per cent, which is way below the global average of 50%.
Vikram Shroff, head-HR Law, Nishith Desai Associates, a legal and tax counselling firm, said: “Once implemented by the respective states, it will enable employers having offices in different states to maintain uniform HR and leave policies, rather than be subjected to different provisions. It will also bring some consistency in terms of labour law compliances although, at the same time, the fines for non-compliances have been significantly increased.” The move will also be a business enabler for the majority of IT companies who cater to international customers and have to operate in shifts running well beyond 8 pm or 9 pm or 24 hours. Sonal Arora, assistant VP, TeamLease Services, who expects a 10 per cent growth in jobs in the short term, said: “While currently also they can continue their operations beyond the regular 9 am to 8 pm/9 pm working hours, but it requires special approval and permission on annual basis, which is not a business enabling provision.”
Shroff, however, was surprised to note that the employment termination provisions as contained in the existing Shops and Establishments Act have been excluded from the model law.

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