Labour Department to crack down on hotels forcing staff to stand in the hot sun

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A restaurant staff pouring water over his head to stave of the heat. Photo - Rijo Joseph
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Labour department has issued an order banning hotels and restaurants from deploying staff in the hot sun in front of their establishments with boards to lure customers in. This order has come in the wake of the intense heat that Kerala is experiencing these past weeks. Alerts were raised in several districts by KSDMA, health and other departments.

On February 26, the state labour department had imposed restrictions on engaging labourers for outdoor jobs. The labour commissioner had stated that those who are working on day shifts should be given a break from noon to 3pm. On noticing that this was not followed by hotels and restaurant chains, the commissioner has directed District Labour Officers to resort to strict action against those violating the order.

The circular was issued after several media reports on the plight of these staff wilting in the scorching sun. It states very categorically that staff should not be asked by managements to stand in the sun during noon hours. “If the staff is asking to do this, action will be taken based on existing laws. Officials of the Labour department have been tasked to carry out regular checks to ensure that the rights of the employees are protected”, Labour Commissioner CV Sajan told Manorama Online.

The Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 states that employees have to be given seats to take rest during duty hours. According to the law, staff should not be asked to stand for hours, including with a board.

The Labour Commissioner said that measures would be taken to enforce these guidelines.

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