Employment And Labour Laws For Women

Brief Introduction

Nowadays women are working in almost all the sectors and industries on field. They are actively and passionately doing their jobs. This could be possible due to the various regulations and laws have been implemented in the country in their favour.

However, this was not the situation earlier. Women were facing lots of problems while they were employed, such as ill-treatment and inequality at work, the poor quality of work provided to them, safety issues, childbirth and maternity leaves issues, etc. To fix women’s issues, various provisions have been added in the employment and labour law for the benefits for women’s employment.

The parliament has passed over 30 Laws to safeguard the basic rights of the labour. However, special attention has been given to women in order to mitigate their challenges at work and to ensure equality in all spheres. Specific provisions have been made for women thereunder, such as separate washrooms, canteen facility, work timings, creche facility, maternity benefits, safety, etc.

Women-centric Provisions And Laws Enacted By The Parliament

There are various labour laws that exist for all the employees in India.Women share almost 50% of the population in India. Hence, the Government has provided the number of regulations and laws which helps and motivate women to contribute toward the growth of India.

  1. The Factories Act (1948) - Under this Act, in addition to the prescribed certain standards with regard to safety, welfare and working hours of workers, few extra provisions have been provided to women workers. Those include:
    1. Women’s washing and bathing facilities, separate toilets and canteens.
    2. Working hours for women workers in the factory have been decided to be between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    3. Females are prohibited from working in a dangerous profession.
    4. Creche facility provision has been provided to the women workers (more than 30) who have children up to the age of 6 years.
  2. The Contract Labour Act (1970) - This Act along with the Factories Act is also enforced for the Separate Restrooms and Canteens for women.
  3. The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act (2017) - Recent amendments to the original Maternity Law passed in 1961 has not only extended the leave terms but also mentioned the offerings of various new provisions.
    1. Maternity leave has been extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and pre-natal from 6 weeks to 2 months. For the mother of at least two, the maternity leave has been allowed 12 weeks and pre-birth stayed a month or a half. For the government employee, it has been set for 180 days for the initial two live conceived kids.
    2. The mother who adopted a child younger than 3 months and an authorized mother has been allowed for 12 weeks of maternity leave.
    3. Work from home facility after 26 months of leave has been introduced in the latest amendment.
    4. Creche facility for the organization having at least 50 representatives has been provided. Also, a mother has been allowed to visit the creche 4 times a day.
  4. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (2013) - The Law has been enacted to prevent the sexual harassment of the Women workers at the workplace. The Supreme Court of India has made it mandatory for employers to set up a mechanism to rectify the complaints related to sexual harassment at work and enforce gender equality right.
  5. The Equal Remuneration Act (1976) - The Act focuses on gender-based wages discrimination issues.
    1. Equal pay provision has been included for Men and Women for similar work.
    2. An employer is not allowed to make discrimination in the recruitment process unless there is any legal limitation in certain areas for female employment.
  6. Shops and Establishments Acts (SEA) - This Act provides the provisions like notice period for termination, leave permissions, work timing conditions, etc. There may be a requirement of shift jobs or work beyond the guided limits for women in certain industries. Obviously, for that, they require special approval and permissions from authorities. Though the approval comes with the special conditions and obligations to the employer, such as provide a safe working environment, adequate security at night time, transport to their residence.
  7. Employee’s Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act (1952) - Under this Act, the Government has reduced the EPF contribution of the women employees from 10-12% to 8% for the first three years of their employment without any change in employer’s contribution.
  8. The Employee’s State Insurance Act (1948) - Women have been made entitled for additional benefits along with all the benefits that come under this Act. An insured woman is allowed to claim her maternity benefits. An insured woman has been eligible to receive the periodical payments by an authority in cases of miscarriage, delivery, premature childbirth or sickness while pregnancy.

Mandatory Benefits To Be Provided By An Employer

The women-supporting Labour Laws enforce employer to provide some mandatory benefits to women, such as:

  1. Maternity benefits
  2. Creche Facility
  3. Washing and bathing facility
  4. Separate toilets and canteen
  5. Prohibition of Night work. Provide safety and transport if required.
  6. Prohibition of work in a dangerous profession
  7. Safety and health measures

Conclusion

The Government has provided many provisions in the benefit of Women empowerment so that they can contribute to the growth and success story of the country. However, these legislations lack on teeth and have not yet been executed in the spirit they were expected to be executed for which the government has to be on its toes until the same is achieved. Along with that, women are also required to be aware of the provisions which can lead them for better and safe life while working.

By: Rashi Suri
The author can also be reached at dikshita@upscalelegal.com

 

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Guest 
on 26 February 2020
Published in Labour & Service Law
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