Can We Have A Labour Law That Lets Women Be Gainfully Employed Part Time?

A labour law that facilitates part time work for women is the need of the day. This will empower women while letting them take care of home too!

A labour law that facilitates part time work for women is the need of the day. This will empower women while letting them take care of home too!

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?

Women’s Day 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.

What we need is a robust labour law for part time paid work.

Here is a graphic with 2013 employment statistics:




How will a labour law like this help?

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 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.

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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.

Published earlier here.

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Image source: Indian working woman by Shutterstock.


About the Author

Tara Krishnaswamy

In software engineering by profession, Tara is passionate about Filter Coffee, Telugu Jaavalis, Caste, Race and Gender Politics. She is a National Council Member of Loksatta. read more...

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