Posted by & filed under Punjab -Shop & Establishment.

On June 25, 2024, the Chandigarh Administration Labour Department issued a pivotal notification impacting all shops and commercial establishments in the Union Territory of Chandigarh. This notification, published in the official Gazette, provides exemptions under certain sections of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958, allowing greater operational flexibility for businesses. This detailed analysis delves into the specific exemptions, conditions, and implications of this notification for businesses and employees.

Overview of the Exemption Notification

The notification exempts shops and commercial establishments in Chandigarh from the following sections of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958:

  1. Section 9: Relates to the prescribed opening and closing hours of shops.
  2. Sub-Section (1) of Section 10: Governs the daily and weekly hours of work, including intervals for rest.
  3. Section 30: Concerns holidays and leave provisions.

This exemption enables these establishments to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, significantly enhancing their ability to serve customers and optimize business operations.

Conditions for Exemption

While the exemption offers extended operational hours, it is subject to several conditions to safeguard the rights and welfare of employees. Below is a comprehensive breakdown of these conditions:

  1. Effective Date and Duration:
    • The exemption is effective from the date of publication in the official Gazette.
    • It remains applicable unless specifically revoked by the authorities.
  2. Weekly Rest for Employees:
    • Employees must be granted one day of rest per week without any deduction in wages.
    • A timetable of these holidays must be displayed on the notice board in advance to ensure transparency and compliance.
  3. Work Hours and Rest Periods:
    • Employees should not work for more than 9 hours a day or 48 hours a week.
    • After five continuous hours of work, employees are entitled to a rest period of at least half an hour.
  4. Night Operations:
    • Establishments operating beyond 10:00 PM must ensure adequate safety and security arrangements for both employees and visitors.
    • This includes the provision of proper lighting, security personnel, and surveillance systems to prevent any untoward incidents.

Special Provisions for Female Employees

Recognizing the importance of women’s safety in the workplace, the notification includes several specific provisions to protect female employees:

  1. Work Hours and Safety:
    • Female employees are generally not permitted to work after 8:00 PM. However, they may work beyond this time if they provide written consent.
    • In such cases, the employer must implement adequate safety measures, including transportation and security arrangements to ensure their safe return home.
  2. Facilities and Amenities:
    • Separate lockers, secure areas, and restrooms must be provided for female employees to ensure their comfort and privacy.
  3. Transportation and Security:
    • Proper transport facilities must be arranged for female employees working late shifts.
    • The vehicle used should have no tinted or blacked-out windows, and the occupants should be visible from outside.
    • A security guard must be present during boarding, and the driver should ensure that female employees are dropped off safely at their homes.
    • A boarding register or computerized record of vehicle details, including the driver’s information and timings, must be maintained for accountability.
  4. Protection from Harassment:
    • Compliance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, is mandatory.
    • Annual self-defense workshops or training sessions should be conducted for female employees.
    • A minimum of five female employees should be present during night shifts to ensure safety in numbers.

Compliance with Labour Laws

The notification mandates strict adherence to all relevant labour laws, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986:
    • Establishments must comply with all provisions regarding the prohibition of child labour and regulation of adolescent labour.
  2. Wages and Holidays:
    • Employees are entitled to national and festival holidays with wages.
    • Wages, including overtime wages, must be credited directly to employees’ bank accounts.
    • Overtime work should not exceed 50 hours in any quarter, and employees must be compensated at twice the normal rate for overtime hours.
  3. Record-Keeping and Safety Measures:
    • Establishments must maintain accurate records of all workers as per the Act.
    • CCTV cameras with a minimum of 15-day recording backup must be installed for safety purposes.
    • An emergency alarm system should be in place to handle any emergent situations.

Cancellation of Exemption

The exemption can be revoked if any of the stipulated conditions or any provisions of the Act are violated. The process involves giving the concerned party a due opportunity to be heard by the Competent Authority before cancellation.

Overriding Provisions

In case of emergencies or specific situations, directions under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, will take precedence over the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958.


The Chandigarh Administration’s exemption notification represents a significant shift towards providing operational flexibility to businesses while maintaining stringent safeguards for employee welfare. By adhering to the outlined conditions, establishments can benefit from extended operating hours and contribute to a more dynamic and responsive commercial environment in Chandigarh. This balanced approach of flexibility and responsibility sets a precedent for other regions, ensuring economic activities flourish without compromising employee rights and safety.

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