In this blog post, Saurodeep Dutta, a student of University of Calcutta, who is currently pursuing a Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws from NUJS, Kolkata, discusses the working hour regulations under the Delhi Shops and Establishments Act, 1954.



The Delhi Shops and Establishments Act, 1954 was brought into power in 1955 after receiving Presidential assent in 1954, applying exclusively to the territory that is designated under the area of Delhi and will not apply to any place outside of Delhi. It is a legislation that covers the shops and establishments of the capital territory of Delhi, but the Delhi High Court has held on a previous occasion that the mere fact that the business of the petitioner is being carried on from a particular office, i.e., petitioner’s officer in Delhi, did not mean that the office could be treated as an establishment to be covered under the Act.[1]

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Working hours

A quick description of Working Hours is pertinent to the subject at hand, and working hours refer to any hours spent by the working employee exclusively working for the employer in the shop or establishment wherein he is so employed, excluding any time that is spent for intervals and mealtimes.

During such times, the person is exclusively working for the employer. The person must be available to be, or actually be, under the direction and control of the employer, and it appears immaterial whether the person so employed has in actuality managed to work during the entirety of the designated Working Hours or not, or whether such employer has in actuality taken any work from him. The only obligation appears to be that he must be at all times during such hours, remain at the disposal of the employer, excluding, of course, the time allowed for rest intervals and meals times.




It is important for any employer, and especially for the employees to find out exactly how long the employer may be able to extricate work from the employees (for employers), and conversely how long the employer may be able to keep an employee on the premises before it becomes illegal. In this respect, Section 8 of the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act, 1954 is of prime importance.

According to Section 8 of the Act, any adult will be able to work in the establishment for a total of nine (9) hours per day, extending to a total of 48 hours of work for one week. The occupier (in layman’s terms, an occupier is a person who controls the working of the factory, shop or another place where the employee/worker is employed[2]) of the establishment is required to fix the daily amount of hours worked. In other words, an employee may not work for more than 9 hours a day, but his weekly contribution regarding hours worked will not be more than 48, requiring the occupier to ensure the right balance regarding hours worked per day and week.

However, in case there is any instance of stock taking or working on accounts, and such person is required to work more than the requisite 48 hours per week, the person may do so, subject to the following restrictions:-

  • The employee must under no circumstances be required to work for more the 54 hours for that week.
  • The aggregate of such hours worked must not exceed more than 150 hours per year.
  • If there are any such extra hours of work as has been described, an advance intimation of at least 3 days will have to be given by the occupier to the Chief Inspector.
  • Any person who is working such extra hours will be required to be paid overtime compensation to the tune of double his normal rate of compensation.[3]

Young Persons

Section 13 of the Act contains regulations limiting the hours of work for young persons[4] who work in these shops and establishments. Section 13 states that:

No young person shall be required or allowed to work in the business of an establishment for more than six hours a day.

  • No young person shall be employed continuously for more than three and a half hours without an interval of at least half an hour for rest or meals and the spread over shall not exceed eight hours on any day.


Special Working Hours for Women and Young Persons

Section 14 of the Act lays down special working hours for women and young persons. This is a common feature in almost all forms of employee-beneficial legislation.

Under this Section, no women or young persons shall be allowed to work in a shop or establishment that is covered under this Act, during the hours of 9pm – 7am during the summer season (summer season starts from 1st April and ends on 30th September) and from 8pm to 8am during the winter season (the winter season starts from 1st October and ends on 31st March of the following year[5])


[1]Bhandari Builders Pvt. Ltd. v. M.K. Seth, 1988 (15) DRJ 77 (SN)

[2]See Section 2(n) of the Factories Act, 1948 for a more precise definition.

[3]For the purpose of calculating the normal hourly wage, the day shall be reckoned as consisting of eight hours.

[4]The persons who have completed twelve years of age but are below eighteen years fall within the definition of “young persons” as given in section 2 (34) of the Act.

[5] Comments under Section 14 of the Act,,+1954/



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