From now on employers - be it public or private, organised or the unorganised sector - will be required to dispose of any complaint related to sexual harassment of women at workplace including of domestic helps within a period of 90 days.
If they fail to do so, it carries a penalty of Rs 50,000.
This has become possible with Parliament clearing the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill on Tuesday. Anchored by the women and child development minister Krishna Tirath in the Rajya Sabha, the bill also kicked off the government's renewed effort to expedite clearance of bills related to women's safety.
This comes in the backdrop of the nationwide protest for stringent rules to ensure safety of women following the December 16 gang rape incident.
Already cleared by the Lok Sabha in September 2012, the bill will protect not only women who are employed but also those who enter the workplace as a client, customer, apprentice, and daily wage worker or in ad-hoc capacity. Students, research scholars in colleges and universities and patients in hospitals have also been covered.
It will also for the first time include the about 47.5 lakh women registered as domestic workers in India. WCD ministry officials said inclusion of domestic workers would allow them access to an efficient redressal mechanism as mandated under the bill, which presently they do not have.