Money & Banking

SBI withdraws controversial circular on recruitment of pregnant women candidates

Our Bureau | Updated on: Jan 29, 2022
File photo

File photo | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

State Bank of India, the country’s largest commercial bank, on Saturday withdrew the controversial circular that barred women candidates who are over three months pregnant from taking up jobs in the bank.

“ In view of the public sentiments, SBI has decided to keep the revised instructions regarding recruitment of pregnant women candidates in abeyance and continue with the existing instruction in the matter,” the bank said in a statement. 

SBI said that it had recently reviewed the various fitness standards for recruitment in the bank, including norms for pregnant women candidates. The revised guidelines were intended to provide clarity on various health parameters where instructions were not clear or were very old. In some sections of the media, the revision in norms in this regard has been interpreted as discriminatory against women, the bank statement noted.

SBI has always been proactive towards the care and empowerment of its women employees who now constitute around 25 per cent of its workforce, the statement added. During the Covid period, as per government instructions, pregnant women employees were exempted from attending office and allowed to work from home, the statement added.

This latest SBI move came after Delhi commission for women (DCW) intervened in the matter and asked the bank to explain its action on the earlier circular, which now stands withdrawn.

The DCW on Saturday issued a notice seeking withdrawal of its new rules wherein a woman who is over three months pregnant will be considered “temporarily unfit” and she may be allowed to join within four months after delivery. “This SBI move is both discriminatory and illegal and we have issued a notice to them seeking withdrawal of this anti-women rule,” DCW Chief Swati Maliwal had tweeted. 

In its latest medical fitness guidelines for new recruits or promotees, the bank said a candidate would be considered fit in case of pregnancy which is less than three months. 

Published on January 29, 2022
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