After facing severe criticisms, the State Bank of India (SBI) has assured to revoke its recent instructions related to the recruitment of pregnant women, on Saturday. Last month, SBI released its updated 'Fitness Standards for Recruitment in the Bank', where it mentioned that a woman candidate with more than three months of pregnancy are not fit enough and the bank will consider them as ‘temporarily unfit, but they can resume their work within four months after their delivery.
"However, if pregnancy is of more than 3 months, she will be considered temporarily unfit and she may be allowed to join within 4 months after delivery of the child," as per the medical fitness and ophthalmological standards for new recruits dated December 31, 2021.
Various bodies including labour unions and the Delhi Commission for Women have condemned the bank for calling pregnant women ‘temporarily unfit’
“State Bank of India seems to have issued guidelines preventing women who are over 3 months pregnant from joining service & have termed them as ‘temporarily unfit. This is both discriminatory and illegal. We have issued a Notice to them seeking withdrawal of this anti-women rule,” tweeted Swati Maliwal, Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women
The bank later clarified in its statement on Saturday, “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 instructions in the matter.”
Although, it withdrew its circular, the bank mentioned in its recent statement that the guidelines issued in December regarding pregnant women were intended to provide clarity on various health parameters where instructions were not clear or were very old and the guidelines were misinterpreted.
To avoid any further confusion and criticism, the bank also mentioned in their latest statement that during the COVID period, as per Government instructions, pregnant women employees were exempted from attending office and allowed to Work From Home.
Considering the public sentiments, SBI has decided to keep the revised instructions regarding recruitment of pregnant women candidates on hold and continue with the existing instructions in the matter.