Shops and Commercial Establishments Act - India

Most businesses in India and their workforce come under the Shops and Establishments Act (SEA). This act regulates many aspects of work-life, including wages, working hours, holidays, earned leaves, child labour, women’s rights, and more.

This article provides a bird’s view of the Shops and Establishments Act across most states. As a result, while there are broad similarities amongst the acts for various states, the specifics differ from state to state. Be sure to check on the state level page for accurate information about the state.

Unlike the Factories Act, there is no central labour act for shops. Each of the states has its own Shops Acts based on a model code.

Shops Act Ready Reckoner

Select a state from the list below to see information for that state.

Shops & Establishments Acts For Various States

Click on the states given below for detailed information on various state-wise shop acts.

A Brief History

Labour laws came into existence to protect the workers’ rights, ensure safe working conditions and regulate the affairs of companies and the workforce. In India, different acts exist for different types of industries and work environments.

The Shops and Establishments Act has its roots far back into the 19th century Industrial Age in Europe. The rights and protections are a culmination of a slow struggle for each of these rights over centuries.

When India gained independence and various new states formed, the Shops Act was enacted by each state based on a shared model code. For example, The Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Act came into force as early as 1948.

In 2016, the Government of India produced a revised and updated Model Shops & Establishments Act for adoption by the states. Once again, Maharashtra is a trailblazer state to have adopted the new Model SEA 2016.

It is expected that more states will adopt and upgrade the decades-old acts in keeping with the changing needs of businesses.

Applicability

The Shops and Establishments Act applies to most businesses, excluding some concerns like factories, mines, etc.The act covers:

  • retail establishments like stores, malls, warehouses, etc.
  • eateries, hotels, movie multiplexes, amusement parks,
  • amusement and entertainment
  • service organizations like finance, healthcare, pharma, hospitality, etc.
  • IT companies

What areas does the Shops Act cover?

The Shops Acts for various state are all similar and cover different labour rights like:

  • working hours
  • rest days and period of rest
  • paid annual leaves (earned, sick and casual leaves)
  • wages and compensation
  • overtime
  • children and women’s employment

The businesses covered under the Shops Act have many obligations and compliances like:

  • prompt registration of the business
  • period renewal of the registration
  • keeping the labour department updated about org changes, closure, etc.
  • display of public notices and certificates
  • issuing of appointment letters
  • maintenance of various registers and records

Consequences for Non-Compliance

Apart from detailing the various procedures to be followed, a key component of any regulatory law is laying down the penalties and punishments for various offences.

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