One of the biggest things that women have been facing is the problems related to rights and privileges. Since ancient times, women have been struggling to find a respectable place and a social status in the society. Our Constitution strives to protects the rights of women by treating them equally and by providing measures and remedies if any concern arises. Despite the several written provisions, women are still not safe in their workspace. In this research paper, the researcher has mentioned the provisions of the act that are made for the comfort of the Indian working women, has also shown the concern that remains unsolved i.e. safety of the women. Sexual harassment at work does not only have a negative impact on the individual, it is equally bad for business; hostile work environments foster poor productivity and can have a damning effect on an organization’s public image. As per the surveys conducted, there has been a disparity between the perceptions of the male and female about sexual harassment. While the male viewed it as something they indulged in ‘for fun’, the female employees viewed it as violation of their personal space.
Today, women are achievers in every field. Article 15(3) of The Constitution of India has given the ‘state this freedom to create special provisions for protecting the interest of women and children. For the same purpose, the Indian State has passed various laws and implement certain policies to improve their condition’. However, Indian working women face both visible and invisible discrimination in their paths like sexual harassment in their workplace, less salary as compared to men and the most serious issue i.e. the mindset of the society.
The Prohibition of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act,2013
After the Vishaka guidelines laid down by the judiciary, it took 16 years for the legislature to frame an act that would specifically deal with the sexual harassment acts done against the women.
Let’s have a view of what the act states in a nutshell –
The act states the procedural requirements for employers and the complaint process
- Procedural Requirements for Employers
Section 4 of the act requires for the establishment of an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in a workplace with more than 10 employees.
- The ICC must consist of at least-
- Four members under the Chairperson ship of a senior woman employee,
- Two members from amongst the employees preferably a women with experience in social work or legal knowledge and
- A third party member preferably affiliated with a non- governmental organization.
In an organization with less than 10 employees, complaints can be filed at local complaints committee (LOC) established at the district level.
Moreover, employees need to display at the workplace details of the penal consequences of indulging in acts of sexual harassment, the composition of the ICC, and the grievance redressal mechanism available to aggrieved employees.
2. The Complaint Process
For an instance, ICC is formed in a company. Women alleging sexual harassment must file a complaint within three months of the incident. However, an extension of three months can be provided if the woman can prove that grave circumstances existed that prevented her from filing at an initial stage (Section 9). The ICC is then required to complete the inquiry within 90 days of receipt of the complaint. Section 15 of the act provides certain factors that needed to be considered if compensation is deemed appropriate for the aggrieved woman. As a result, the accused person faces significant financial loss if found guilty by the ICC.
THE MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT, 1961
Being a mother is a special experience in a woman’s life. Women should be able to spend quality time with their children without worrying about jobs and sources of income. Article 42 of the Indian Constitution requires the state to adopt provisions to ensure fair and humane working conditions and maternity assistance. The maternity benefit is a payment to a woman worker at the rate of average daily wages for the period of her actual absence immediately preceding and including the day of her delivery and for six weeks immediately following that day.
In the sixth session of International Labor organization held in 1975, emphasis was laid down on the need to make maternity protections more adequate in the following spheres:
- Extension of maternity protection to new categories of women workers,
- Extension of the period of statutory or prescribed maternity leave,
- More liberal provisions for extended or extra leave during child’s infancy,
- Higher rates of maternity benefits,
- More effective protection against dismissal during pregnancy and after confinement,
- Greater encouragement of breastfeeding and wider provisions of nursing breaks,
- More adequate attention to the safety and health of woman during pregnancy and
- Establishment by social security schemes or public bodies of day nurseries to care for infants and children of working parents.
The National maternity Benefit scheme was amended and new scheme called ‘Janani Sraksha Yojna’ was introduced.
Fundamental rights to equality and individual freedom must be preserved, and the citizens of our country must not be discriminated against for any reason. Therefore, providing a safe working environment for women’s prosperity is a legal and moral duty. That is why we must all respect the constitution and all officials. It is not only the responsibility of the judiciary, we as a citizen also have certain responsibilities. Everyone has the right to do or not to do so in modern times. One must respect an individual’s space and decision and rather support women to bring their status at par with men.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.
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