Four Office Organisations forwarded the Joint Note to Indian Banks Association (IBA) on issues concerning Lady Employees in addition to the Charter of Demands, the contents of which are self explicit. Here are the minutes of joint note.

Issues concerning Lady Employees

Women have various problems in our country and in many other countries.

Double Burden: Twin responsibility of managing domestic and professional front.

Mobility: Transfer and promotion policies of the banking industry create serious barriers to the women’s advancement to managerial jobs.

AIBOC Joint Note on issue concerning lady employees submitted to IBA
AIBOC Joint Note on issue concerning lady employees submitted to IBA

Safety and Sexual Harassment: Women leaving the office during late hours make them vulnerable to the unscrupulous criminal elements prevailing in the society at large. A lewd comment passed on at the women at workplaces and elsewhere spoils the morale of our women officers.

Gender insensitivity: Controllers generally do not prefer young women officers (just married) citing the reason that they are prone to go on maternity leave and that their absence might affect the day to day operations of the Bank.

Promotions and transfers: Most of the women executives in public sector banks forgo promotion out of the fear of causing dislocation in the family though they have fully qualified themselves with CAIIB and other officer cadre exams conducted by the respective banks. The lack of social support, a general familial tendency to sideline women issues have contributed to women opting out of further promotions/ transfers fearing issues in the family. The clerical staffs with management potential continue working at the clerical level owing to present transfer/ promotion policy of many Banks which requires transfer to a different city.

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Recommendations

Creches : Infrastructural facilities such as creches and day care centres. Establishment of child care centres in all major cities and towns to take care of the children.

Child Care Leave: Child care leave on the lines of Central Government Scheme i.e Two years in the entire career with Salary.

Maternity Leave: Maternity leave should be 2 years in service for women employees and for 1 year on one occasion for one child.

Sick Leave: Sick leave may be granted to women employees to look after sickness of a child below 12 years.

Reimbursement of Infertility Treatment: Specific gynec ailments to be covered under maternity leave including infertility treatment.

Legal Adoption: A female employee may be granted maternity leave, for legal adoption of child, up to one year within the overall entitlement.

Hysterectomy: Over and above the maternity leave, another 2 months to be given to cover cases of hysterectomy, wherein the maternity leave is already exhausted.

Hostels: Provision of hostels for working women, accommodation for divorced, separated and widowed women with children.

Special Leave / Sabbatical Leave: Special leave with a lien on service, for up to say five years, to meet certain contingencies specific to women, extending this facility to men also whenever required.

Flexible Working Hours: Provision for a woman with a child less than three years old to work for fewer hours and receive proportionate pay.

Provision for flexi-hours and part-time employment in suitable cases. One way of improving prospects for women could be to restructure the work, for example with flexible working hours, part time job assignments, split location positions performed partly at home and job and job sharing

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Although maternity leave (12 weeks in all) is regarded as fairly satisfactory, additional provisions required are medical benefits, hospitalization, leave for the purpose of child care, paternity leave for at least ten days, and further leave for those who have to look after an infant in special circumstances. The Ministry of Labour has amended the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which presently entitles women to 12 weeks of maternity benefit whereby employers are liable to pay full wages for the period of leave. It also provides for crèche facility.

A uniform transfer policy in all banks for women officers, and a cell to deal with women’s issues in every bank’s personnel department.

One question frequently asked is, “How do we manage the banks if so many ladies are on leave?” Many countries have provided for recruitment of more employees taking into account that 1/3rd will be on leave any point of time.

Observations/ Recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on empowerment of women (2015-2016):

A separate section in the Bank’s website provides highlights with regard to women empowerment in the bank.

A Lady member is included in the interview panel.

Women are given preference in the matter of transfer and placement. As far as possible their choices of posting are being considered. Transfers are limited and placement is given as far as possible near to/ to their hometown or centre of location of spouse.

Safe and congenial working atmosphere is maintained in the bank.

Flexi Hours & Safety:

Employers should improve structure of recruitment policies to facilitate work life balance of women and employee performance and productivity. Apart from this it will also reduce stress associated with work and hence improve work performance. With above mentioned employee performance and productivity it also leads to higher profitability for the organization. The management of bank and financial services need to look at these, enhance the participation of women and enable them to contribute to the commercial well being of the organization.

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Regulated working hours for women:

According to the Factories Act (1948), no woman worker shall be allowed to work in a factory except between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. The State Governments may by notification vary the limits as set out in this point, but in no circumstance will women employees be allowed to work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Crèche facility:

According to the Gazette Notification of the Ministry of Law and Justice dated 28 March 2017, The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017,

11 A (I): Every establishment having 50 or more employees shall have facility of crèche within such distance as may be prescribed either separately or along with common facilities:

Provided that the employer shall allow 4 visits a day to the crèche by the women, which shall also include the interval for rest allowed to her.

Organizations that already provide crèche facility include Accenture, HCL Technologies Ltd, General Electric Co., Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Airtel, Flipkart Ltd, Godrej Industries Ltd, L’Oreal India Pvt. Ltd, Johnson and Johnson, Genpact Ltd and Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

Annexure: 1. Report of the Parliament Standing Committee on Women

  1. Maternity Benefit (Amendment ) Act 2017

Visit www.aiboc.org for annexures.

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