Legal Rights of Female Employees
Introduction: Women have always been an essential component of our culture, playing numerous roles such as wife, parent, and daughter, as well as demonstrating their ability in other elements and sectors of society when given the opportunity. Women’s contributions to our society cannot be overlooked. Women nowadays are excelling in every sector.
India, the world’s largest republic, is committed to the ideal of social equality. But, circumstances were not identical in the earlier. While things altered with passage of time. As a consequence, and nowadays, women must fight for basic rights like paid parental leave, abortion access, and wage equality, among other issues.
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Because of the patriarchal structure of the society, women face many instances of discrimination and are not readily absorbed practically in every sector; being a woman in this societal structure is a fight on its own. “According to the recent survey, the total number of female employees is 149.8 million, of which 121.8 million are rural and 28 million are urban. There are 35.9 million female farmers, 61.5 million agricultural laborers, 8.5 million in home industries, and 43.7 million workers.”
Women Frequently Selected For Household Tasks:
As observe from these figures that a big number of women are earning a living, but the majority of them are laboring for poor wages and in low-wage positions; those from remote regions mainly work in various businesses or households merely to meet their basic needs. And the individuals from cities are similar to the ones from rural locations. Typically, Indian women are selected to take on household tasks beacause men desire to rule the realm outside the home. Despite the challenging societal bonds, there are women who have come out, worked diligently according to their will, and even proven themselves in community by reaching the peak in their profession.
Women Still Uninformed of Their Rights:
The standing of Indian working women has changed dramatically. Though Indian working women are becoming more self-reliant and cognizant of their legal rights, such as the freedom to work, equality of opportunity, equal pay for equal work, and the right against gender discrimination, the majority of employed women continue to be oblivious of these privileges, and as a consequence, they encounter different kinds of prejudice, bullying, and enslavement in their residences, on their journey to work, and at workplace. Because the majority of employed women are uninformed of their interests, the workplace environment for women in India remains poor and hostile to women. As a result, India’s parliament and policymakers enacted several regulations and laws to safeguard the liberties of working women.
Safeguarding of Female Workers By Government:
Because of their strange cultural, physiological, and behavioral characteristics, as well as their illiteracy and knowledge, the issue of challenges has intensified. To end the prejudice and exploitation, there was a need to give them with some safety and security through the legislation, namely the Indian Constitution (Articles 14, 15, 16, 23, 39, 43, and 46), which guarantee the safeguarding and safety of women workers.
The government offers protection through various plans, programmes, regulations, and initiatives. The Government enacted a number of parliamentary laws to safeguard women workers, including the Factories Act of 1948, the Mines Act of 1952, the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976, the Payment of Wages Act of 1936, among others.
Precautionary Measures Need to be Implemented:
It has been discovered that the government’s precautionary measures, such as separate bathroom facilities and washrooms, drinkable water, and so on, are either not supplied or are not sufficiently administered. There are few medical services and no maternity pay. The regulations, guidelines, and welfare policies suggested for women workers will be ineffective unless women are made aware of the law & it is made sure that the clauses of the rules and benefits, payments are carried out.
The following are the numerous legislative measures implemented by the government to safeguard women employees in specific situations:
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961:
The Act was enacted to address discrepancies in the current Maternity Benefit Act and to introduce consistency to maternity benefits levels, eligibility circumstances, and durations. The Act overturns the Mining Maternity Benefit Act of 1941, the Bombay Maternity Benefit Act of 1929, the Plantation Labour Act of 1951, and all other province provisions of the act addressing the same subject.
Other than as expressly stated in Sections 5A and 5B of the Act, the Act is not applicable to any factory or business where the requirements of the Employees’ State Health insurance Act, 1948 is applicable. The Act aims to restrict chances of employment in only certain enterprises during specific periods prior to and following delivery, as well as to offer maternity pay and certain additional benefits to female professionals.
The Motherhood Benefits Act of 2017:
It provides for maternity leave of 26 weeks for biological parents and 12 weeks for moms who have adopted a kid. The Commission has suggested increasing maternity leave from 135 to 180 days for 2 kids as well as further extending up to two years for the same intent with attributable childcare centre facilities, nursing breaks.
Sexual misconduct is regarded not only as a type of prejudice in terms of health and safety, but also as an assault on basic and individual rights. It is disrespectful at many levels and hinders women’s right to equality of opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace. The first and most important endeavour should be to avoid such abuses from occurring in the first place, but if such intimidation does happen, it should be penalized and the sufferers should be safeguarded. Women are frequently ignorant of their rights, and they frequently keep things secret for the fear of being fired.
Workplace Sexual Misconduct (Control, Prevention, and Grievances) Act of 2013:
The Sexual Assault at Workplace Act of 2013 is a special legislation designed to offer women with a secure workplace environment. The Act’s effective implementation will help them realize their rights to sexual mainstreaming, liberty and life, and equal employment opportunities worldwide. A feeling of safety at employment will increase women’s labour force participation, leading to financial independence and inclusive economic growth. All women are covered by the Act.