After making a move to extend eight-month long maternity leave across government offices, the women and child development (WCD) ministry is now looking at ways to ensure that every company and entity — private and public — hiring women employees also provides a daycare facility to help them raise their children.
Reliable sources told ET that the ministry has written to the corporate affairs ministry to advise and build consensus with all companies and corporate entities to set up a daycare/creche facility in view of the rising number of working women across sectors. The WCD ministry is learnt to have engaged with FICCI and CII to help build consensus among industry leaders and companies to take initiative and set up daycare facilities for women employees.
The ministry is moving with greater force on making it mandatory across gram panchayats, construction companies and mining firms, proposing that they set up a daycare within 4-6 months as per a proposal moved to a committee of secretaries last month, senior officials from the WCD ministry told ET on the condition of anonymity.
Inadequate maternity leave and the absence of childcare facilities are identified as key factors that force women to drop out of the workforce.
The move fits in with the recent effort to increase maternity leave for women employees from 6.5 months to a full eight months. Pitching strongly for the increased leave, the ministry has managed to get most ministries on board with the plan including defence and home. The issue is currently with a committee of secretaries.
While the ministry is keen that the eight-month long maternity leave be extended to the private sector as well and has also written to corporate affairs ministry, CII and FICCI, there has not been much headway in that direction. There is also a thought that the same should be pursued more strongly with the private sector once the government successfully shifts all its organisations to the eight-month leave model.
There are already enabling laws to push for the daycare move at gram panchayats through MNREGA, at construction sites and offices through Construction Welfare Boards governed under a 1996 Act, and at mines through the Mines Act, besides a range of other areas like plantations. However, there is near zero implementation of the provision despite a number of women working there.
As per the proposal being moved to CoS, the WCD will push for a major expansion of the Rajiv Gandhi National creche Scheme. As per a rough estimate, against about 3.5 crore children requiring the facility, only 22,000 creches were made available under the national scheme.
Source for Banner Image: economictimes.indiatimes.com
Source of Article: economictimes.indiatimes.com