This article on ‘RIGHTS AND BENEFITS OF BEING A WORKING WOMAN’ is written by Parvati Ranawat. A law student of University College of Law (UCL), Mohan Lal Sukhadia University, Udaipur. Read about woman rights..
There was a time when people used to think that a woman is made only for the hearth. Women was considered to be subordinate to man. At every point of life, as a woman, she has to make sacrifices for the sake of her children, husband, and family. Although she does much for her family so much so that one of the English rhymes says,
“Woman, dog and walnut tree, The more you beat them; The better they be.”
A woman has traditionally been the home-maker taking care of the family and the house. In recent years our society has seen a rather dramatic shift in the expectations of both, man and woman. There has been a division amongst people as to the benefits and consequences of having women work outside of the home.
Benefits of Being a Working Woman
While some believe that working women are harming the family, some feel that working women are benefiting their families and teaching their children valuable life lessons. Working parents often set a good work ethic for their children, helping to make them productive members of society. Working mothers set an example for their children by showing “willingness to work”; and the positive outcome of working, namely a sense of independence, pride, and fulfillment.
Working women help to break the stereotype of women being in the home; concerned with nothing more than their physical appearance. They are successful independent women who value and use their intelligence as much as possible.
It has been correctly said that now woman has become man’s equal. Her patience, her accuracy, as well as efficiency has earned her a status in society. In handling most of the jobs that need physical labour, she has surpassed man. Her humility, her spirit of self sacrifice and above all a smile on her face wins respect from the society.
When she has achieved such great success in the outside world, it would be selfish of man to confine her inside the four walls of the house. Women who work bring more to their family and relationship. They not only bring an extra income to the family but also help to instill in their children a good work ethic.
Common Rights of Working Women
In many industries, female workers are systematically denied their rights to regular pay and regular working hours; equal pay for equal work; permanent contracts; safe and non-hazardous work environments; and freedom of association. Egregious abuses, including sexual violence, harassment and forced pregnancy tests, are all too common.
Moreover, the social status of women has not opened up at the same pace at which women have been brought into the workplace. They may have increasing opportunities at work, but they are prone to domestic violence and unequal expectations at home.
Women’s rights groups have long recognized that full equality is not possible unless women can speak out for themselves.
Law of maternity benefits
If you are expecting a child and also determined to do your work. If you are not willing to give up on your career just because of being pregnant then you ought to know the rights which are enshrined in the Maternity Benefit Act,1961.
Following are the rights granted:
- When the employee shows proof of her delivery then maternity benefit is to be provided to her 48 hours in advance.
- The employee has to be granted one month of paid leave for any illness due to miscarriage or pregnancy.
- The employer has to give twenty-six weeks of maternity leave without any cut in her salary i.e paid maternity leave is to be granted to the employee.
- If the employee dies without leaving a legal heir then a beneficiary, nominated by the employee, will be given the maternity benefits.
- A medical bonus is also given to the employee. A sum amount of Rs. 2500 – Rs. 3500 is to be granted if as a medical bonus if the employee provides with the post-natal and pre-natal care.
- Under this act, a woman can’t be hired by any establishment for six weeks after delivery, miscarriage, or medical termination of pregnancy.
- Also, you can’t be fired by your employer from your job if you are on maternity leave.
So, the aforementioned are some rights enshrined in the Act for a working woman in her pregnancy.
Law against sexual harassment
Have you faced sexual harassment at work? Has a male colleague persisted even after you disapproved of his sexual behavior 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 favors 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 organizing workshops and awareness programs on sexual harassment.
Right to get equally paid
The Indian Constitution recognized the principle of ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ for both men and women, and ‘Right to Work’ through Article 39(d) and 41. These Articles are inserted as Directive Principles of State Policy. This means that they will serve as guidelines to the Central and State governments of India, which are to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies.
Efforts are employed even on legislative fronts – The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 being the prime one amongst them. The Act by means of Section 4 not only emphasizes on equal pay for equal work but even bars the employer from reversing the pay scales in order to attain equilibrium.
‘Pay Gap’ or unequal pay is an issue that has become a matter of concern these days due to an increase in the instances of discriminatory pay scales for the same type of work. India still lacks a comprehensive and transparent wage policy for all the sectors of the economy. This makes the issue of potential demand for equal pay a matter of concern in recent times. Equal pay here relates not only to basic pay but includes other benefits and allowances too.
Law protecting women working in night shifts
In India the legislation pertaining to night shift mainly relate to restrictions on women working during the night.
# The Factories Act 1948 states that no woman shall be required or allowed to work in any factory except between the hours of 6 am and 7 pm. The Factories Act was amended in 2005 permitting women to work at their required timings.
# According to the Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966, no woman shall be required or allowed to work in any industrial premises except between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
# The Mines Act, 1952 prohibits employment of women in any mine above ground except between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The Shops and Establishment Act states that no women shall be required or allowed to work in any establishment after 9:30 PM.
# The IT and ITES industry were permitted to employ women after 8pm; on condition that they are provided with transportation up-to their doorstep with adequate security measures in place.
Law for workers working in factory
Do you work in a factory that has poor working conditions? Then your employer can be penalized. 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.
In the conclusion of the aforementioned, it would not be in the fitness of the things to say that women are meant for home. Rather, they should be held in high esteem for making a positive contribution to the community.
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 behavior 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.
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