Chennai: The Maternity (Amendment) Act will result in 11 to 18 lakh women losing jobs in FY19 in 10 sectors and an estimated one to 1.2 crore job losses across all sectors, finds a study by Teamlease.
While the Act can improve the situation of women in the medium to long term, the short-term impact could be negative. Job losses of 11 to 18 lakh could occur in FY18-19, across 10 sectors, including Aviation, BPO/ITES, Real-Estate, Education, Ecommerce, BFSI, IT, Manufacturing, Retail and Tourism as there will be fewer takers for women in the workplace in the short term of up to one year.
While, large, professionally managed companies and medium sized public sector companies will actively back the amendment, medium-sized multinational companies will reduce the demand for women talent, the survey of employers revealed.
Similarly, large and medium sized closely held or family-owned companies are likely to either maintain status quo or reduce demand for female talent. Start-ups are likely to reduce demand for female talent and SME behaviour across services and manufacturing too will have lesser women at work.
The bill will also significantly hamper the entry of new women into the workforce and decrease upfront salary of female talent aimed at compensating for future expenditure. Currently, women account for 27 per cent of total workforce in India and of this 14 per cent are employed in the formal sector.
“The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 positions India as the third most progressive country after Canada and Norway. However, the bill in spite of having intent to benefit the women workforce has been counterproductive to the new women workforce participation in the next 1-4 ye-ars,” said Rituparna Cha-kraborty, Co-founder and EVP, TeamLease Services.
As per the Act, maternity leave of 12 weeks extended to cases of adoption of a child below 3 months of age. Employers may need to take decisions on formalising work from home policies. Employers have to invest in the required infrastructure to facilitate work from home options for employees and arrange for crèche facilities.
Four breaks per day may be necessary for childcare. Employers must ensure that all statutory benefits details in India are available to employees at the time of joining, as well as on a continuous basis.
These requirements will increase the cost of having women employees in the organisation. The sectors that employ women in large numbers and have continuous, dynamic, operations are likely to be adversely affected in the short term.
However, the study also finds that in the medium term of 1 – 4 years, impact is likely to be positive for all sectors except those with a legacy of male-domination in the workplace.
“The inve-stment employers will make towards this end will go a long way in improving wo-men’s workforce participation and, thereby, boost national income. As with most reforms of such scale, the mechanics of change are as critical as the reform itself. It would require a participative approach. Government sho-uld support the corporate at every step by allowing flexibility as well as financial support so that all types of companies can be a part of the endeavor without hesitation,” added Chakraborty....