The Karnataka government announced on November 20, 2019, that women who are willing may be employed on the graveyard shift. This indicates a change in the mentality of the government, which was hesitant to allow women to work in office through the night, citing concerns of safety and exploitation.
The state government said in a notification that it “hereby allows employment of women workers, who come forward to work during night shifts, between 7 pm to 6 am in the factories registered under the Factories Act 1948”, according to a Live Mint report.
However, this relaxation of the rule comes with a few riders. These include adequate measures to prevent and address sexual harassment, provide appropriate working conditions, equal opportunity devoid of discrimination, and other rules to ensure that the safety and sanctity of women employees are not compromised.
“The employers shall see that the women workers are employed in a batch of not less than 10 and the total (number) of the women workers employed in a night shift shall not be less than 2/3rd of the total strength,” according to the notification. The government makes it mandatory to provide sufficient women security staff, restrooms and transport facilities for the benefit of women employees who would be working at night.
Karnataka okaying women working in graveyard shifts assumes significance considering that the government has been trying to improve the ease of doing business in the state, update itself to suit the requirements of new-age companies like start-ups and aggregators that will help both the industry and protect workers from arbitrary rules.