Victims Of Sexual Harassment To Get 90 Days Of Paid Leave, Govt Says

The Indian government is getting behind women workers, and how. After announcing that it was increasing the maternity leave for women from 18 to 26 weeks, the government now wants to help out women who’ve encountered sexual harassment at the workplace. It has announced that women who work for the central government and happen to experience sexual harassment at work will be entitled to 3 months of paid leave while the enquiry is on. The leave will be in addition to those already given to central government employees.

Man touching shoulder of uncomfortable woman co-worker
Image: lawfarm

The move assumes significance as there have been complaints of the accused attempting to influence or threaten their victims. It can also be harrowing to for a woman employee to continue reporting to work and being in the same environment as her attacker while the enquiry is on.

 This provision of the leaves has been framed under the ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, a legislation mandated to provide protection to women against sexual harassment at work place. “The leave so granted to the aggrieved woman under this rule shall not be debited against the leave account”, the order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.

Sexual harassment is pretty broadly defined, and includes physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing any pornography and any other unwelcome physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

 Despite several government policies, sexual harassment often rears its ugly head at Indian workplaces. There have been several  cases of allegations of harassment, and even high profile companies haven’t been spared. This latest ruling will ensure that if an incident does happen, women will have enough time to recover and regroup and join the workforce once again.