1. 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 realizes 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? (20)
- Rashika, working late on a Saturday evening, finds her professional commitments clash with her responsibilities as a wife and mother. She grapples with the ethical dilemma of striking a balance between her work ethic and personal life.
a) The ethical issues involved in this case are-
- Work-Life Balance: Rashika faces a significant ethical dilemma regarding maintaining a work-life balance. Her dedication to work has led to her spending long hours at the office, often at the expense of her family and personal life.
- Family Responsibility: She grapples with the ethical issue of fulfilling her family responsibilities, particularly towards her young children who need her care and attention, as well as her husband who is frequently away for work.
- Work Ethics: The conflict between her dedication to work and the need to prioritize her family raises questions about the ethical boundaries of work ethics, including punctuality, dedication, and selfless service.
- Social Obligations: Rashika feels she hasn't fulfilled her duties in discharging essential social obligations, reflecting ethical concerns about her role in contributing to the welfare of her family and society.
(b) Various laws are enacted for women's workplace safety and equity. Some of them are-
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 which mandates establishment of Internal Complaints Committees at workplaces.
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961: This Act ensures that women employees receive maternity leave with full pay, job protection, and other benefits.
- The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 prohibits discrimination in pay and benefits based on gender.
- The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 has provisions related to workplace safety, working hours, and leave.
(c) In a similar situation, the suggestions to mitigate working conditions from my side will include-
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Advocate for flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting or flexible hours, which can help Rashika balance her work and family responsibilities.
- Delegation and Prioritization: Encourage Rashika to delegate tasks when possible and prioritize her workload to ensure that essential family obligations are met.
- Workplace Support: Promote a supportive workplace culture that values work-life balance and provides resources like on-site childcare facilities or family support programs.
- Effective Time Management: Provide training and resources on time management to help employees like Rashika optimize their work hours and reduce the need for extended workdays.
- Mentoring and Counseling: Offer mentoring and counseling services to help employees navigate work-life challenges and make informed decisions about their priorities.
- By implementing these suggestions, organizations can create a more supportive and equitable work environment that allows employees to balance their personal and professional responsibilities effectively.