NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked employers to provide paid maternity leave to registered road construction workers for 26 weeks for up to two deliveries, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said on Tuesday.
Irani said for more than two children and adoption or commissioning mothers, 12 weeks of paid maternity leave shall be provided by the employer.
“The advisory that I hold in my hands for female construction workers across the country mandates them to be given 26 weeks of maternity leave by their employers. Now, this is nothing less than revolutionary,” said Irani, as she released an advisory on women’s participation in the workforce.
The Labour Ministry and the Women and Child Development Ministry jointly released the advisory.
“It is not just putting ink to paper, but ensuring officers actively consider the availability of such facilities to women,” she added.
In addition to childbirth, the advisory addresses miscarriages, stipulating that if a woman in the construction sector experiences a miscarriage, she is entitled to leave with wages equivalent to maternity benefits for six weeks following the day of the miscarriage.
“As per the advisory, the wage of women construction workers has to be transferred through an online medium to avoid them getting duped by their supervisors,” the minister said.
The advisory stresses the proactive role of employers in implementing policies and programmes to encourage women to join the workforce.
“Now that the advisory is given, it becomes easy for the officers and the ministry to compute the impact of such advisories on the female construction workforce across the country,” Irani said.
Furthermore, the advisory stresses the proactive role of employers in implementing policies and programs to encourage women to join the workforce, she said.
The advisory emphasises the need for employers to facilitate a safe and supportive environment for female workers during night shifts, ensuring transportation services for pick-up and drop-off, especially during night-time hours.
It also lists the setting up of sexual harassment complaints of women workers as per the provisions of the sexual harassment of Women at the Workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013, safeguarding their rights by specifying timing and mode of wage payments, and also ensuring facilities such as latrines and urinals, washing, creches, and adequate accommodation, etc for migrant women workers.
The advisory also lists that employers should ensure provision for weekly holidays, intervals for rest, and overtime pay to women workers as per the requirement and eligibility.
It mentions that employers should ensure the payment of minimum wages for various categories of employment as per the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, of 1948.
Employers were also advised to ensure rest intervals, suitable working conditions, and other safeguards to promote the overall health, safety, and welfare of women workers in shops and other commercial establishments.
“While the government is taking various policy measures to support women in all aspects of work life, it is imperative that the employers should also take the lead in implementing the policies and programs in the right perspective to encourage women to join the workforce. Accordingly, an advisory is being issued to employers to increase the participation of women in the workforce,” the advisory said.