DCW chief Swati Maliwal tweeted a notice to SBI over rules for pregnant women
The Delhi Commission for Women has issued a notice to State Bank of India for stopping women who are over three-month pregnant from joining work. State Bank of India, or SBI, has called these women "temporarily unfit", the commission's Chairperson Swati Maliwal tweeted. She said the bank's action is discriminatory and illegal as it could affect maternity benefits provided under the law.
SBI later withdrew the guidelines for pregnant women.
"State Bank of India seems to have issued guidelines preventing women who are over 3 months pregnant from joining service and have termed them as 'temporarily unfit'. This is both discriminatory and illegal. We have issued a notice to them seeking withdrawal of this anti-women rule," Ms Maliwal said.
In the notice tweeted by Ms Maliwal, the Delhi Commission for Women, or DCW, said SBI in a circular on December 31 stopped women who are more than three-month pregnant from joining work, despite having been selected through due process.
"The circular states that she will be considered temporarily unfit and she may be allowed to join within four months after delivery of child," the DCW said.
"The bank seems to have framed rules which state that if a woman candidate is three months pregnant, then she would be considered as temporarily unfit and would not be given immediate joining upon her selection. This is a very serious matter. This action of the bank appears to be discriminatory and illegal as it's contrary to maternity benefits provided under the Code of Social Security, 2020," it said.
The DCW asked SBI to explain the process behind how these guidelines were formed, and to give the names of officials who approved them.
SBI's latest medical guidelines published on December 31 say: "...If pregnancy is of more than three months, she will be considered temporarily unfit and she may be allowed to join within four months after delivery of child."
SBI this evening tweeted it has withdrawn the guidelines for pregnant women. "Revised instructions about recruitment of pregnant women candidates stands withdrawn," SBI said.
Earlier, women candidates up to six-month pregnant were allowed to join SBI under some conditions, including getting a certificate from a gynaecologist that her taking up employment at that stage would not affect her health.