Now companies have to disclose compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act: MCA

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The move is aimed at making women feel more secure at their workplace.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has amended the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014, issued under Section-134 of the Companies Act, by inserting a new clause – No.10.

As per the new clause, it is now mandatory for companies to issue a statement that they have complied with provisions relating to the constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The request to include this new clause was initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

The Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi stated that, “this is a major step towards making the workplace safe for women in the private sector”.

Gandhi has also requested SEBI to suitably incorporate this disclosure in the corporate governance reports of the listed companies. This will cast an even higher responsibility on the directors of these companies to implement the Act.

It may be noted that Section-134 of the Companies Act, 2013 provides the disclosure framework, which the directors of all companies are required to comply with in the annual reports. This section also includes the penal provisions for non-disclosure. The inclusion of the compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in the non-financial disclosures will ensure that the issue becomes a focus for the boards of directors of the companies.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been making continuous efforts to mainstream the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013. Detailed Rules under the Act have been issued. It has been ensured that all the ministries/ departments under the Central Government as well as the organisations working directly under them constitute the Internal Complaints Committee, as mandated under the Act.

A number of instructions have been issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on the request of the Ministry to provide immediate relief to the women working in the Central Government against sexual harassment at the workplace.

The Ministry has also empanelled a number of entities who can provide training to any organisation on effective implementation of the provisions of the Act. The Ministry has provided a facility to all working women to file complaints under this Act directly with the Ministry through the SHE-Box.

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