A crèche facility soon for working parents at BMTC

Bangalore Social and Religious Top Story women

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Rule, 2017, mandates every organization with over 50 employees to have a crèche facility within 500 meters.

The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is planning to start a crèche facility at its Central Office in Shanthinagar. BMTC administration said that “the project is in its initial stages.”

With the workforce shifting  back to physical offices after two years of the pandemic and the work from home facilities being modified, BMTC has invited agencies to establish and run a crèche (Day Care Centre). “The tender has been allotted and the work is likely to begin soon,” informed the BMTC Public RelationsOfficer(PRO).

The 2017 Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act and the Karnataka Maternity (Amendment) Act, 2019, requires every organization with more than 50 employees to have a full–time crèche facility for working parents of children below the age of six years.

According to the Act, “the employer has to provide the benefits to every employee irrespective of the nature of employment such as permanent, temporary, regular, daily wage, contract, etc.”

Women make up to 29 percent of workforce in India but the number drops drastically for CEO level positions.

The public relations department of BMTC says that around 3000 female employees are working with the organization and the move will positively affect the female workforce. “The tender has been floated and is under process,” the Public relations Officer Sunitha J said.

A BMTC worker from the administration department said that “I leave my kids at my parents’ home when I come to office but would consider sending my children to the crèche only if the standards of hygiene and safety are good and it would be better if some schools are attached to the facility, so the kids can learn something while they are here.”

The 2019 Amendment Act also specifies that “such a facility should have a woman- in-charge who has governmentrecognized qualification and training in “Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) or Teachers Course Higher(TCH) or equivalent qualification.”

Also, the crèche should be located in a well ventilated building and should not have any hazardous structures around. The facility should be available for all shifts-day and night for parents working in either shift.

According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2022, 29.4 percent of women in the age group of 15-59 years, were a part of the active labour force.  The World Bank defines labour force as the share of women over 15 years of age who are economically active.

Research has shown that women’s participation drops to a mere 9 percent at mid-senior level positions from 29 percent at entry-level positions. The drop suggests that women drop out of the work force between marriage, childbirth and childcare.

A research report published by Ashoka University, in 2018 suggests that 73 percent women leave their jobs at childbirth and out of those who rejoin, 48 percent leave within four months.

“A solid support from family with spouse is indispensable for women to come back to workforce after childbirth….crèche facilities, if provided at all workplaces will be a boon for working women enabling them to fulfill their roles as a mother as well as a entrepreneur/employee” said Bhuvana, vice president of an NGO for working women and entrepreneurs.

Apart from daycare facilities, organizations like UNICEF also promote breastfeeding support in the workplace. Ministry of Women and Child Development is also implementing a central scheme called National Crèche Scheme, under which 6458 crèches are being run across the country in 2020.

The Maternity Benefit Act, however, does not maintain any record of defaulters for not following the standards of facilities mentioned in the act.

“Providing support facilities like crèche at workplaces is no less than a blessing as it allows women to confidently pursue their career and nurture their kids , at the same time,” said the expert in women’s rights.