Weekly Holidays Act, 1942
The Weekly Holidays Act, 1942, aims to grant weekly holidays to persons employed in shops, restaurants and theatres without any ‘deduction or abatement’ of wages. It extends to the whole of India, but it shall only come into force in a state or specific area if the state government directs the same through a notification in The Gazette of India.
How does the Act define shops, restaurants and theatres?
The Act refers to a shop, restaurant or theatre as an ‘establishment’. A shop is any premises where a retail trade or business is carried out – including the business of hairdressers and retail sales by auction, and excluding the sale of programmes, catalogues, and other similar sales. A restaurant is defined as any premises in which the business of supplying meals or refreshments to the public – or a class of the public – is carried out, for consumption on the premises; restaurants do not include businesses which are attached to a theatre. Theatres include premises intended principally or wholly for presenting moving pictures, dramatic performances or stage entertainments.
What does the Act say about closing shops?
Every shop shall remain entirely closed on one day of the week, which shall be specified by the shopkeeper in a notice permanently exhibited in a conspicuous place in the shop. The shopkeeper shall not alter the specified day of holiday more often than once in three months.
What does the Act mandate about weekly holidays in shops, restaurants and theatres?
Every person employed – except for those employed in a ‘confidential capacity’ or position of management – in any shop, restaurant or theatre, shall be allowed a holiday of one whole day each week. This section does not apply to any person whose total period of employment in the week – including any days spent on authorised leave – is less than six days.
In addition to a weekly holiday, state governments may require shops, or a certain category of shops, to be closed at a prescribed time in the afternoon for one weekday every week. The day that the shop will be closed under this section (Section 5) shall be specified by the shopkeeper in a notice permanently exhibited in a conspicuous place in the shop. For theatres and restaurants, or any specified class of either or both of such establishments, state governments may prescribe an additional half-day holiday for every person employed, except for those those employed in a ‘confidential capacity’ or position of management.
Can the weekly holiday mandated by this Act affect an employee’s wages?
There can be no ‘deduction or abatement’ in the wages of any person employed in an establishment, on account of any day or part of a day on which they have been allowed a holiday under this Act.
What does the Act say about appointing inspectors to carry out the Act’s provisions?
State government may, by issuing a notification in the The Gazette of India, appoint persons to be inspectors for the purposes of this Act, within the ‘local limits’ as it may assign to such persons.
What are the penalties for not following this Act?
Any proprietor or person responsible for managing the establishment where such a contravention has taken place shall be punishable with a fine, as prescribed by the government under this Act.
When can an establishment be exempt from following the Act’s provisions?
The central or state government may exempt any establishment to which this Act applies from all or any specified provisions of this Act. It may suspend the operation of this Act for a specified period on any special occasion, such as a fair, festival or a succession of public holidays.
Focus and Factoids by Sowmya Jain.
Ministry of Law and Justice
Government of India, New Delhi
03 Apr, 1942