COVID-19 Update: State of Maharashtra

Revised Consolidated Guidelines – Maharashtra

The Government of Maharashtra (“GoM”) has released Consolidated Revised Guidelines on 17th April 2020 (“Guidelines”), capturing the measures to be undertaken to curb the spread of COVID-19.

These Guidelines have been issued in line with the Revised Consolidated Guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs (“MHA”) which we have covered in our previous post.

These Guidelines also include certain additional activities and businesses that were not present in the Revised Consolidated Guidelines of MHA but have been allowed to operate in the State of Maharashtra with effect from 20th April 2020, despite the lockdown which is to remain in force until 3rd May 2020.

Activities permitted in Maharashtra in addition to the activities stipulated under Revised Consolidated Guidelines of MHA

  • Agriculture and related activities including all agricultural-horticultural activities related to processing, packaging and transport and forest related activities have been permitted.
  • Financial sectors shall also include NBFCs and Cooperative Credit Societies with bare minimum staff.
  • Public utilities including activities related to natural calamities especially scarcity/ drought including water supply by tankers and fodder supply by vehicles to remain fully functional.
  • Commercial and private establishments including wholesale operations and distributions network related services have been allowed to operate.
  • MSMEs engaged in manufacture of activities like wheat flour, pulse and edible oils, etc. to remain functional.

These Guidelines were further amended vide Order dated 21st April 2020 wherein the following provisions have been imposed:

  • The relaxations issued under the Guidelines have been withdrawn in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune Metropolitan Region, as a large number of people had commenced commuting due to these relaxations which posed imminent threat of further spread of COVID-19 in these regions.
  • E-commerce delivery (with necessary permissions) will be restricted to delivery of essential commodities, food, pharmaceutical and medical equipment only.

Extension for filing of annual returns in Maharashtra

The Department of Labour, GoM has extended the deadline for filing of annual returns under the Maharashtra Shops And Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 2017, to 31st July 2020 as many establishments have been unable to file their annual returns for the year 2019 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Clarification on the Order and Advisory issued by to the employers

The GoM through its “Advisory” dated 20th March 2020 requested employers of public/ private establishments not to terminate the services or reduce the wages of their employees, causal or contractual workers, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further, the Order of Industries, Energy and Labour Department of Maharashtra dated 31st March 2020, made the earlier issued Advisory mandatory. The Order directed the employers of private establishments, factories, companies, shops (except essential services), etc. to ensure that all employees and workers (including employees provided by contractors, outsourced workers, temporary workers and daily wage workers) are compensated in full (i.e. paid entire salary and allowances) during the period of lockdown. It was further stated that violation of the said Order would attract penal provisions as stipulated under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. We have covered these in our previous posts here and here.

It would therefore be safe to confer, in the present circumstances, the principle of “no work no pay” cannot be invoked in sectors other than essential services as the employers are unable to provide work due to temporary suspension of work  and the employees/ workers have been forced to stay at home due to the lockdown.

– Charulata (Associate)

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