IT firms should avoid putting women on night shifts: Karnataka assembly panel
The Karnataka assembly’s child and women committee has suggested that information technology firms in the state should avoid assigning women on night shifts citing their responsibilities at home as one of the reasons behind its recommendation.Updated: Apr 02, 2017 20:41 IST
The Karnataka assembly’s child and women committee has suggested that information technology firms in the state should avoid assigning women on night shifts citing their responsibilities at home as one of the reasons behind its recommendation.
Congress legislator NA Harris, who heads the panel, told Hindustan Times that the panel had only suggested that if women so wish, they should be allowed to work in day shifts. The recommendation was tabled on Monday.
“We have not recommended a ban on night shifts. We have only said that if women demand to be employed in day shifts, employers should oblige,” Harris said.
However, in doing so, the panel is going against the state government’s initiative last year, when it eased curbs on employing women on night shifts by amending the Shops and Commercial Establishments Act and the Factories Act.
State labour minister Santosh Lad said the labour department had made stringent regulations regarding the conditions under which women could be assigned night shifts. “The government cannot go beyond that because Bengaluru is a cosmopolitan city and the nature of the jobs available now are such that night shift will be unavoidable.”
Nasscom expressed its displeasure over the recommendation and the industry body’s president R Chandrashekhar said concerns regarding women’s safety have been addressed by companies.
“As regards the responsibilities of individuals towards their families, I do not think it is appropriate for the state to legislate on that,” Chandrashekhar said.
KS Vimala, president of the Janawadi Mahila Sanghatane, said if women who are lactating, in advanced stages of pregnancy or have any other problems demand for day shifts, it should be done.
“However, if it is a concern of safety, surely those concerns should be gender neutral. It’s not just women who face security issues while commuting at night,” Vimala said.
Vimala said efforts should be made to provide women with other facilities that have been mandated, like creches at places of work, instead. “These are more important issues, and ones that need immediate attention.”
However, some women said the recommendation of the panel would help them.
Ashima Aggarwal, who works in the IT section of a foreign bank, said there were issues with work timings for women with children.
“Our shifts match the timings of foreign clients and, hence, are not suitable for women with small children. In such cases, women should be allowed to work in day shifts,” Aggarwal said.
Aggarwal said she has hardly come across instances where facilities such as creches have been provided to women employees. “Having such facilities will help, of course,” she added.