At 9 pm on Saturday evening, Rashika, a Joint Secretary, was still engrossed in her work in her office. Her husband, Vikram, is an executive in an MNC and frequently out of town in connection with his work. Their two. children aged 5 and 3 are looked after by their domestic helper. At 9:30 pm her superior, Mr. Suresh calls her and asks her to prepare a detailed note on an important matter to be discussed in a meeting in the Ministry. She realises that she will have to work on Sunday to finish the additional task given by her superior.
She reflects on how she had looked forward to this posting and had worked long hours for months to achieve it. She had kept the welfare of people uppermost in discharging her duties. She feels that she has not done enough justice to her family and she has not fulfilled her duties in discharging essential social obligations. Even as recently as last month she had to leave her sick child in the nanny’s care as she had to work in the office. Now, she feels that she must draw a line, beyond which her personal life should take precedence over her professional responsibilities. She thinks that there should be reasonable limits to the work ethics such as punctuality, hard work, dedication to duty and selfless service.
(a) Discuss the ethical issues involved in this case.
(b) Briefly describe at least four laws that have been enacted by the. Government with respect to providing a healthy, safe and equitable working environment for women.
(c) Imagine you are in a similar situation. What suggestions would you make to mitigate such working conditions?
This case deals with the issue of work life balance.
(a) Ethical issues involved in the case:
- Neglect of personal life: Rashika having to leave her sick child in the nanny’s care to attend work, potentially compromising her child’s health and emotional well-being.
- Undue pressure: On part of her superiors at work who are expecting her to work on a Sunday without considering her personal time and family commitments demonstrates a lack of concern for employee welfare.
- Double burden of expectations: Rashika has to balance the expectations of the family along with official commitments.
(b) The 4 laws enacted by the Government:
1. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amendment in 2017) provides 26 weeks maternity leave to ensure maternal health.
2. The Factories Act, 1948 (Amendment in 2016) mandates that women should not be assigned night shifts to ensure their safety.
3. The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 prohibits discrimination in pay on the grounds of gender.
4. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013: mandates the establishment of Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) at workplaces and requires employers to create a safe environment, prevent sexual harassment, and provide redressal mechanisms.
- The issue should be brought to the notice of the concerned authorities.
- Workload Assessment: Conduct a comprehensive workload assessment to ensure civil servants are not overloaded with excessive tasks. Implement efficient task distribution to prevent overburdening.
- Leadership Training: Provide leadership training to supervisors and managers on how to support their subordinates in achieving work-life balance.
There should be adequate delegation of the work at lower levels so that work does not pile up at one tier of organisation.
By implementing these solutions, civil services can create a more balanced and supportive work environment.
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