You have just got your dream job in your dream company. This is your first job and you are very excited about it. As a new employee, ofcourse, you will try all means to impress your seniors and the management and do your work sincerely. But before joining any organization, it is very essential to know all the basic groundwork. It’s not the job role and responsibilities only that you should look forward to in your company. You should also be aware of the rights, laws and benefits which Indian law guarantees to its working employees but which many companies do not follow/provide or do not let the employees know about them.
While you contribute to the company’s overall growth through your hard work and efforts, the company which you have joined should also contribute to your well-being and growth.
This article gives you an idea about the rights and laws that need be followed in all companies and all Indian employees should be aware of it.
Written Employment Agreement
The moment you get the job offer, the next thing that you wait for is the appointment letter. But, do you know, your company should also provide you with a written employment agreement, along with the appointment letter? This contains the terms and conditions related to salary, designation, working location, office hours, some confidential information and trade secrets, including dispute resolution methods. The Employment Agreement is enforceable under the Indian Contract Act 1872.
With an Employment Agreement, both the employer and the employees have a sense of security as both the parties are in full knowledge of their duties and obligations and have to follow the required terms and conditions. A newly joined employee should carefully read and understand, and also has the right to get advice on the terms and conditions before signing the contract. This is very essential and the contract agreement should be signed by both the parties. This helps in the enforcement of employee’s rights.
Right to Protection from Sexual Harassment
This is a very important Act, the knowledge of which is essential for everyone. Sexual harassment at offices is a very serious issue. With growing instances of women harassment at workplace, the Sexual harassment of Women at Workplace Act (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) was implemented in 2013. But, in many organizations this Act is not in place. So any kind of unwelcoming conduct to an employee by another employee/boss/senior/staff should be immediately taken care of by the management. Usually, most female employees for the fear of losing their jobs remain silent, and in worst cases leave their jobs. There should be a proper channel through which such cases needed to be handled and strict action should be taken against the harasser. Sexual harassment is punishable under the Indian Penal Code.
Right to Maternity and Paternity leave
There is too much of confusion in maternity and paternity leaves. Till a few years back, maternity leave was for 3 months only. At present, it has been raised to 6 months, out of which 8 weeks can be taken as pre-natal leave. While this is a law that needs to be implemented, many organizations still follow the previous law of 12 weeks maternity leave. If you are planning to start a family and have joined a new company, it is always better to know about this leave policy. As a matter of fact, even surrogate, commissioning and adoptive mothers have the right to take maternity leave. It is mandatory for all companies to provide maternity and paternity leaves to all employees and this should be as per Government’s law and policies. During the leave period, the employee gets her or his full salary.
Right to Equal Pay for Men and Women
According to Article 39(d), our Constitution makes it a rule for equal pay for equal work for both men and women. We also have the Equal Remuneration Act, implemented since 1976 for this. When it comes to equal pay, it includes equal basic salary and also other equal benefits and allowances. But in order to show equal pay for all men and women, the employer has no right to reduce the pay of the employees.
Right to Take Leave
In most organizations, private or government, all employees are entitled to Casual Leave, Sick Leave, Privilege or Earned Leave and some other kinds of leaves like as unpaid or half-paid leaves. The number of days offered for Casual Leave, Sick Leave, Privilege or Earned Leave is at the discretion of the company. However, during the course of the financial year, if an employee does not consume all the leaves or leave the company, he or she is entitled to encashment leave, which means, that those leaves which are not used can be carry forward to the next financial year or paid back in the salary of the present year.
Right to Gratuity and Provident Fund
Those employees who have rendered their services to an organization for at least 5 years should be given gratuity, which is a lump sum amount based on the duration of services provided. On the other hand, provident fund is a retirement benefit scheme under Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) and should be available to all salaried employees. Here, the employer and the employee should contribute 12% of their basic salary to the PF which can be withdrawn once the service is over. Some organizations do not incorporate PF scheme on the ground that they are offering gratuity. But this is wrong. Organizations should offer both gratuity and provident fund benefits to its employees, and in case this is not done, the employee has every right to approach PF Appellate Tribunal.
Probation Period Cannot Extend More Than 2 Years
When an employee joins a new company, the employee is under a probationary period of 6 months, in which the employee gets his salary but is not eligible for bonuses, benefits and other facilities. Once the probation period is over, the employee’s job becomes confirmed and he/she becomes a permanent employee of the company with additional benefits. Sometimes, the employer extends the period for another 3 months. This is entirely at the discretion of the employer. However, there may be cases when an employer deliberately keeps on extending the probation period with the sole intention of not giving the entire benefits to the employee as given to the permanent ones. As per law, the maximum probation period cannot be more than 2 years. If any employee is terminated before probation period due to unsatisfactory job performance, he/she has to be given proper notice before termination.
It is very essential that every employee knows his or her responsibilities as well as his or her rights in the workplace. This is very important for smooth running of work and for growth for both the company as well as the employees.