Part Labour, Part Law: A Women's Day Gift for India
- Career Development
- 31 Mar 2016
We have a penchant for casting choices as either-or. Are you studying or working? You can't possibly be doing both. Are you a "housewife" or working? Surely it's one or the other.
It is the day for buoying women and the season for buoying economy. So here is the silver bullet for sure shot propulsion of both women's futures and the country's GDP into high growth Nirvana while sidestepping the artificial either-or trap.
A robust labour law for part time work.
Here is a graphic with 2013 employment statistics:
It will enable millions of educated urban and semi-urban stay-at-home women in the stranglehold of the either-or conundrum to start or return to work, productively leveraging downtime at home. Refer to my previous article Wear your own oxygen mask first: The Dismal State of Women's Employment in India that dwelled upon the downward spiral that is the urban working woman.
It will also enable current full time employees of both genders to upgrade their skills part time, while continuing to pursue gainful employment, hence fulfilling India's parched need for skilled labour. It will facilitate low wage earners whose nature of work is erratic, like plumbers and janitors to multiplex jobs with legal sanction.
What it requires is for labour law reform to mandate payment proportional to the quantum of part time work. The amended law also needs to enshrine a certain fraction of health, insurance and retirement benefits for at least half to three quarters time of what is deemed full-time employment.
What is in it for employers? Flexibility of employment, access to hitherto untapped labour, more skilled labour and part-time payments that are on the books.
What is in it for India?
More labour enticed to join or rejoin the workforce and hence a higher GDP.
Continually upgraded skills implies greater productivity and efficiency and hence better quality output.
An inclusive growth that puts wealth in the hands of working women.
Women win, men win. Employers win, employees win. India wins.
It's called win-win-win.
A software engineering by profession, [Director, Software Development, ISV Engineering APAC, Oracle Corporation] Tara is passionate about Filter Coffee, Telugu Jaavalis, Caste, Race and Gender Politics. She is a National Council Member of Loksatta.