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Net new women EPFO subscribers addition rises to 28.69 lakh in FY23

Net new women EPFO subscribers addition rises to 28.69 lakh in FY23
Retirement fund body EPFO recorded a net new women subscribers addition of 28,69,688 in FY23 against 15,93,614 in 2019-20, showing a rise in employment through the pandemic, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

The net addition in Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) subscriptions is an indicator of the extent of job creation/formalisation of the job market and the coverage of social security benefits to the organised/ semi-organised sector workforce, said Minister of State for Labour & Employment Rameshwar Teli in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Teli explained that the EPFO data covers the low-paid workers in medium and large establishments of the formal sector.

According to the reply, the net addition in women EPFO subscribers increased from 15,93,614 in 2019-20 to 28,69,688 in 2022-23.

The net women EPFO subscribers addition was 13,98,080 in 2020-21 and 26,18,728 in 2021-22.

Teli also informed the House that the estimated female unemployment rate (UR) on usual status for persons of age 15 years and above in the country declined to 2.9 per cent in 2022-23 from 4.2 per cent in 2019-20, as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS). It was 3.5 in 2020-21 and 3.3 in 2021-22.

The data indicates that the labour force indicators in 2022-23 for women are better than the pre-Covid period, the minister told the House.

Teli said the estimated female worker population ratio (WPR) increased to 35.6 per cent during 2022-23 from 28.7 per cent in 2019-20, which shows that female employment in the country has an increasing trend.

Employment generation, coupled with improving employability, is the priority of the government, Teli said, adding that the government has taken various steps to increase employability in the country, including women's participation in the labour force and quality of their employment.

A number of protective provisions have been incorporated in the labour laws for equal opportunity and congenial work environment for women workers, he stated.

The Code on Social Security, 2020, has provisions for enhancement in paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, provision for mandatory creche facility in establishments having 50 or more employees, permitting women workers in the night shifts with adequate safety measures, etc.

The Code on Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions (OSH), 2020, has provisions for the employment of women in aboveground mines, including opencast workings has been allowed between 7 pm and 6 am and in below-ground working between 6 am and 7 pm in technical, supervisory and managerial work, where continuous presence may not be required.

The Code on Wages 2019 has provisions that there shall be no discrimination in an establishment or any unit thereof among employees on the grounds of gender in matters relating to wages by the same employer in respect of the same work or work of a similar nature done by any employee.

Further, Teli stated that no employer shall make any discrimination on the grounds of sex while recruiting any employee for the same work or work of a similar nature in the conditions of employment, except where the employment of women in such work is prohibited or restricted by or under any law for the time being in force.

To enhance the employability of female workers, the government is providing training to them through a network of Women's Industrial Training institutes, National Vocational Training Institutes and Regional Vocational Training Institutes.

All these initiatives are expected to collectively generate employment in the medium to long term through multiplier effects, the minister stated.

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