By Rupin Chopra and Apalka Bareja
The Punjab Shops & Commercial Establishments Act of 1958 is applicable in the State of Haryana. The Act provides for the regulations of the payment of wages, terms of services, work hours, overtime work, rest intervals, opening and closing hours, closed days, holidays, leaves, maternity leave and benefits, work conditions, rules for employment of children, records maintenance, etc. and the main objective of the act is to protect the main objective of the employees and provide a legal framework for the enforcement of their rights.
An establishment can be either a shop or an establishment. A shop under the definition provided by the act means any premises where any trade or business is carried on or where services are being rendered to the customers and may include offices, storerooms, godowns, warehouses, whether in the same premises or otherwise, used in such connection with such trade or business, but does not include a commercial establishment or a shop attached to a factory. A commercial establishment on the other hand refers to a premises wherein any business, trade or profession is carried on for profit such as a commercial or trading or banking or insurance establishment, an establishment or administrative service in which persons employed are mainly engaged in office work, a hotel, restaurant, boarding or eating house, a café or any other refreshment house, a theatre or any other place of public amusement or entertainment.
Every establishment except the ones exempted are required to register and be governed by the provisions of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act. Every employer seeking to get their establishment registered shall send a proper statement to the prescribed authority along with the prescribed fees which might be applicable according to the conditions mentioned under this act. The statement should contain the following details:
1) The name of the employer and the manager
2) The postal address of the establishment
3) The name, if any of the establishment,
4) Number of people employed in the establishment
5) Any other particulars as may be prescribed may also be mentioned by the employer in their statement.
On the receipt of the following statement, the prescribed authority after any inquiries that it may deem necessary and on being satisfied with the facts mentioned in the statement by the employer enter the name of the establishment in the register of establishments as per the procedure established or prescribed. Subsequently, after the name has been entered into the register of establishments the prescribed authority may issue a registration certificate to the employer.
The time period for registration for new establishments extends up to thirty days from the day from which the establishment commences its work. If an establishment had been existing at the time of enactment of this Act, then the period of thirty days will commence from the date of enactment for the Act to get the establishment registered under the said Act .
Validity of the Registration certificate – The registration certificate is valid for a period of three years and shall be renewable by the 31st day of March every three years. A thirty-day grace period may be allowed by the prescribed authority for the renewal of the registration certificate after the payment of the prescribed fee. For example- the registration cost for three years for establishments such as starred hotels, cinema houses, insurance, companies, or establishments employing more than 10 employees etc. is Rs. 5000. Whereas for those establishments such as nursing homes, privately managed educational institutions etc. the fee is Rs. 1000. Similarly further bifurcation is done depending upon the type of commercial establishment and the registration fee varies accordingly.
It is the responsibility of the employer to notify the prescribed authority of any change in the circumstances or statement of the establishment within a period of seven days after the change has taken place. The authority on the receipt of such notice shall check or inquire into the correctness of the changes and if the authority is satisfied it may make the necessary changes in the registration certificate or issue a new one, if necessary.
In case of closure of an establishment the employer should within a period of ten days from the closing of his establishment notify the prescribed authority in writing. The authority after receiving the information may inquire into the matter and if satisfied with the correctness of the information provided would remove the name of the said establishment from the register of establishments and cancel the registration certificate.
The Act also provides that if any of the condition mentioned under this section of the Act dealing with namely ‘registration of establishments’ is not complied with or the employer fails to comply with the provisions then the employer may be liable, if found guilty, to a fine. The minimum value of this fine is one thousand rupees but may also extend up to three thousand rupees along with the prescribed registration or renewal fees, whatever the case may be.
There are certain establishments and people on whom the Act of 1958 is not applicable and are exempted under it. These include:
1) offices of, or under the Central or State Government (except commercial undertakings), the Reserve Bank of India, any railway administration or any local authority;
2) any railway service, air service, water transport service, tramway, postal, telegraph or telephone service, any system of public conservancy or sanitation or any industry, business or undertaking which supplies power, light or water to the public;
3) railway dining cars;
4) offices of legal practitioners (lawyers);
5) any person employed in the businesses of any establishment mentioned above;
6) any person whose hours of employment are regulated by or under the Factories Act, 1948, except the provisions of sub-section (3), (4) and (5) of Section 7 of this Act in so far as they relate to employment in a factory;
7) any person whose work is inherently intermittent;
8) establishment of stamp vendors and petition writers.
This in whole summarises the process of registration under The Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958 and the provisions that employers need to follow and the establishments that are exempted under it.