India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank on Tuesday launched an initiative -- iWork@home -- to allow its women employees, the option to work from home. This allows women who may need to be at home either during pregnancy or childcare, to work from home for a period of upto one year.
Employees will be provided access to their required operating systems in a safe and secure manner, thereby creating a seamless office-like environment.
According to a study, undertaken by the bank about a year ago, two-thirds of the women employees quit their jobs for constraints arising out of maternity and childcare needs.
Women opting for this programme can even seek an extension of the work-from-home period beyond one year. However, extension will be granted to only on careful consideration of performances.
Besides this, the bank will also bear the costs for children and their caregivers when women managers have to travel out on business.
“Lack of support system due to predominance of nuclear families, inadequate infrastructure facilities like crèches and long commute time further accentuate the problem. To ensure that the women do not leave the workforce, there is a strong need for a robust support system, both at home and at work,” Chanda Kochhar, managing director & CEO, ICICI Bank said.
Although women form 48% of India’s population, their representation in the workforce is much lower than men, Kochhar added.