‘Right to sit’: Tamil Nadu tables Bill mandating establishments to provide seating for employees

September 06, 2021 03:13 pm | Updated September 07, 2021 11:27 am IST - CHENNAI

Textile showroom in Chennai. File

Textile showroom in Chennai. File

In a move that would benefit thousands of employees of large and small establishments, particularly those working in textile and jewellery showrooms, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday tabled a Bill in the Legislative Assembly making it mandatory for establishments to provide seating facilities for employees.

The Bill introduced by Labour Welfare Minister and Skill Development C.V. Ganesan sought to amend the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947 by adding a sub section to mandatorily provide seating facilities for the staff.

The proposed Section 22-A to the Act reads: “The premises of every establishment shall have suitable seating arrangements for all employees so that they may take advantage of any opportunity to sit which may occur in the course of their work and thereby avoid ‘on their toes’ situation throughout the working hours.”

The Bill said that persons employed in shops and establishments in the State “are made to stand throughout their duty time” resulting in varied health issues.

“Considering the plight of the employees who are on their toes throughout their duty time, it is felt necessary to provide seating facility to all the employees of the shops and establishments,” it said.

The subject of providing seating facility to the employees was placed in the State Labour Advisory Board Meeting held on September 4, 2019 and was unanimously approved by the members of the Board.

A few years ago, workers of textile showrooms in Kerala had gone on a protest demanding the ‘Right to Sit’, prompting the government there to amend the Kerala Shops and Establishments Act in 2018 to provide seating arrangements for them.

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