5 workplace rights a woman must know
In every generation, women have faced some unique, prejudicial challenge. In modern times, as more and more educated young women enter into white-collar jobs, their chances of facing predatory behaviour from men—at different occupational levels—have increased.
But, now, the options to prevent and punish the perpetrators of harassment are stronger than ever before.
So, if you are a woman, it’s best that you know your rights at the workplace and exercise these, if needed.
Five laws that are your best friend if you face discrimination/harassment at work:
1.Law against sexual harassment
Have you faced sexual harassment at work? Has a male colleague persisted even after you disapproved his sexual behaviour or advances? In 2013, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act was enacted to help those who face sexual harassment at work. Because of this Act, every company must now have a well-documented mechanism to address complaints about sexual advances and demands for sexual favours at work.
This Act entitles every woman a safe work environment and offers guidelines on initiating action against any sexual misconduct. The Act also has provisions for organising workshops and awareness programmes on sexual harassment.
2.Law for maternity benefits
Are you an aspiring mom who won’t give up on your career? You must know your rights enshrined in the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
The benefits include:
a. 26 weeks of paid maternity leave
b. One month of paid leave for any illness due to pregnancy or miscarriage
c. Medical bonus of Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,500 if the employer provides pre-natal and post-natal care
d. Maternity benefit when the employee shows proof of delivery, to be paid 48 hours in advance
e. When the employee dies leaving no legal heir, a nominated beneficiary gets the maternity benefit.
Furthermore, under this Act, no establishment can hire you for six weeks after delivery, miscarriage, or medical termination of pregnancy. No one can also fire you during maternity leave.
3. Law for factory workers
Do you work in a factory that has poor working conditions? Then your employer can be penalised. Proper working conditions include ensuring health, safety, welfare, proper working hours, leave, and other benefits. Women workers must get 24 hours’ notice if there is a change in their shift timings. If a factory hires more than 30 women workers, it has to have a crèche for children aged six years and below.
4. Law for equal pay
Are you paid less than your male colleagues despite shouldering similar responsibilities? The Equal Remuneration Act under Article 39 of the Indian Constitution lets you claim equal pay. Employers must pay male and female employees equally for the same position. Also, employers cannot discriminate against women during the hiring process.
5. Law protecting women working night shifts
If you work night shifts, your employer must ensure a safe working environment. The Shops and Establishment Act protects women employees who work night shifts. Your employers must apply for approvals if you need to work beyond prescribed limits. The approvals include conditions such as providing sufficient security and conveyance during night shifts.
However, as a woman, if you ever face any harassment/discrimination at work, never hesitate to speak up and take appropriate action. Remember, by remaining silent you will not only do a disservice to yourself, but to countless other women who might fall prey to the same situation.