State Bank of India streamlines recruitment rules for pregnant candidates

The country’s largest lender, the State Bank of India (SBI), has introduced new rules according to which a candidate with a pregnancy of more than three months is considered “temporarily unfit” and can join the bank within four months of giving birth.

The move has drawn criticism from some quarters, including the All India State Bank of India Employees’ Association.

In its latest guidelines on medical fitness for new recruits or promotions, the bank said that if a candidate was less than 3 months pregnant, it would be considered fit.

“However, if the pregnancy lasts more than 3 months, she is considered temporarily unfit and may be admitted to enlistment within 4 months of the child’s birth,” according to the December 31 Medical Eligibility and Ophthalmological Standards for New Recruits and Promoters , 2021.

For hiring, the policy applies from the date of approval, December 21, 2021.

The revised funding standards will apply from April 1, 2022, it said.

Previously, candidates with pregnancy up to 6 months were allowed to enter the bank under various conditions.

Conditions include providing a certificate from a specialist in gynecology that taking up banking activity at this time will not in any way affect her pregnancy or the normal development of the fetus, or is likely to cause her miscarriage or otherwise affect her health.

The revised rules have drawn criticism from some quarters, including bank employees.

An email sent to SBI seeking comments on the policy did not result in an immediate response.

CPI Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam has written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman demanding the immediate retraction of the Medical Eligibility Circular issued by SBI regarding the guidelines for hiring pregnant women.

According to All India State Bank of India Employees’ Association secretary-general KS Krishna, the union has written to SBI management asking it to withdraw the guidelines.

“The change proposed by the bank is fundamentally disadvantageous and anti-female. The proposed amendment will be unconstitutional as it discriminates against women by treating pregnancy as a disease/disability.

“It cannot be forced on a woman to have a choice between having a child and being employed as it affects both her reproductive rights and her right to employment, and such an act can have no place in the current modern era,” he said he.

In connection with this, he said, the union had also requested that the 6-month provision itself be removed and that no pregnant women who were willing to take up employment at any stage should be barred from employment.

The same proposal was discussed by the bank in 2009, but was withdrawn after much shouting, he added.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard contributors; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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