The 2021 Budget will help enhance women’s workforce participation as the allowance to work all shifts will encourage companies across several sectors to hire more women, said job market experts.

“Coming close on the heels of vaccine roll out which will ensure a quick return to normal economic activity, as also combined with the greater acceptance of Work from Home, I anticipate a lessening of stress on employers when it comes to employing women,” said Saundarya Rajesh, founder-director of diversity and inclusion consulting firm AVTAR Group.

She estimates 15 lakh women (both blue-collar and white-collar workers) benefiting from this and a likely increase of between 1-2% in women’s labour force participation this year.

This will help industries such as IT, ITES and BPO in SEZ’s, manufacturing companies in sectors such as textiles, pharma and FMCG, said, experts. Both small and medium enterprises, as well as large organisations, will be encouraged to include more women in the workforce.

“Companies in the back-office processing space will be able to utilise capacity better,” said Saundarya.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced that women will be allowed to work in all categories and also in the night shifts with adequate protection.

“It is definitely a welcome move and is in line with the spirit of providing equal opportunities for women,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, executive vice president, .

“However, this move needs to be coupled with necessary investments companies need to make sure the workplace is safe for the women and they also get adequate and equal opportunities to upgrade and upskill themselves at par with men to sustain themselves across all categories of work,” said Chakraborty.

To be able to reap the benefits of this allowance, organisations need to put in place the necessary infrastructure to create a safe and secure workplace to attract and hire more women, said experts.

“To organisations which expect a certain additional burden in terms of infrastructure to ensure safety and security, I would urge them to look at this as an investment which will pay off as better productivity and output,” said Saundarya.

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