MUMBAI: Soon after the Delhi government announced the closure of cinema halls and multiplexes till March 31, the staff at INOX alleged that they were being forced to sign Privilege Leave application.
An employee requesting anonymity told IANS over the phone: "We are ready to work, it's not our fault that the government has closed down the cinema halls.
"We are being asked to sign leave documents. It is a kind of cheating to save their expenses by not paying our salaries but the fact is that many of us are sole bread winners of our families and if such a thing happens, our daily lives would be affected badly."
One such document accessed by IANS, read: "My name is.....working as Operations Associate in INOX Delhi Patel Nagar unuit on the payroll of GI Staffing. I need leaves from 14th March 2020 to 31st March 2020, due to some personal reasons. Kindly approve my leaves & considered as my privilege leaves. Thanks & Regards"
Several attempts were made to contact the INOX administration over their comment on the allegations, however, authorities did not respond even after repeated attempts.
Throwing light on the legal aspects of such a move, social activist and lawyer Amit Sahni said: "Private jobs are contractual in nature and the same are governed by the contract's terms signed between the employee and the employer.
"If there is any clause authorising the employer to force the employees to take leave for certain period in emergent situation that has arisen in the present scenario, then the privilege leaves can be forced upon the employees."
He further added: "But ideally, the Employer/ Cinema Owners must make payment to their hapless employees and they can claim the compensation from Delhi or Union government, which has passed notification to shut down theatres.
"At least either employer or the government should take note of it that the Poor employees should not suffer in any this painful situation."
The Delhi government on Thursday declared coronavirus as an epidemic and to check the spread of the coronavirus in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that all the cinema halls will be shut down till March 31.
"We are continuing the ongoing measures to check the spread of Coronavirus in Delhi. Along with that, we have decided to close all the cinema halls and schools which are not having examination till March 31," Kejriwal told media.
There are 82 positive cases of coronavirus in the country with two deaths, one in New Delhi on Friday, the other in Karnataka on March 12.