Women constitute 50% of our population and if they do not come out and work, then our country will never grow at the pace we all envision it to grow. Over the years, several enactments have been passed for the welfare of the working people. Some of these enactments carve out special provisions for the women workforce. And these are as follows:
The Factories Act, 1948 (“Factories Act”)
The Factories Act is a legislation to secure to the workers employed in a factory, health, safety, welfare, proper working hours, leave and other benefits.
- 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.
- The shift timing of a woman worker cannot be changed except after a weekly holiday or any other holiday. Hence, women employees are entitled to get at least a 24 hour notice for their shift timing change.
- There are prohibitions for women workers to work in a hazardous occupation, in pressing cotton where a cotton opener is at work, and limits to the maximum permissible load.
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (“Maternity Benefit Act”)
12 weeks paid maternity leave and benefit for any female employee, who has worked for an employer for more than 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding the delivery date
1 month’s paid leave where a female employee suffers from any illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery or miscarriage.
The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 (“Equal Remuneration Act”)
This is a story across the globe, where we come across discussions and instances of pay discrimination, where women workers are getting paid lesser than their male counterparts.
Article 39 of our Constitution directs that States shall in particular have policies towards securing equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“SHA”)
Sexual harassment at workplace is not uncommon and we come across various cases dealing with harassment in the workplace. India finally enacted the law in 2013, by which The definition of sexual harassment in the Sexual Harassment Act are:
- physical contact and advances,
- demand or request for sexual favors,
- sexually colored remarks,
- showing pornography,
- Or any other unwelcome physical verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
Shops and Establishments Acts (“SEA”)
The State Governments enact their respective shops and establishments act, regulates the working conditions of employees in a shop or commercial establishment. The SEAs provide for various provisions including provisions pertaining to (a) notice period for termination, (b) leave entitlement, and (c) working conditions like weekly working hours, weekly off, overtime, etc.