I am an HR of Mumbai based Engineering company. One of our staff is pregnant and is in final stage of pregnancy (7+ months). She has applied for 1 hour concession to leave early till she goes on her maternity leave.
My issue is that we have never given any concessions like this in past and once allowed we need to give it to all such women. On the other side straightaway saying no may result in Employee resentment.
Request your guidance on handling this situation.

From India, Pune
dear friend,

Pertinently never give for emotional aspects a major hint in your work related fields, kindness and humanity are the eyes of work, but, they should not make a decision in the work environment. Pregnancy at the advanced stage certainly considered for concessions and the same should not be exercised for self benefits. Never worry about employee resentment, do they take the responsibility if the work suffers because of allowing concession. Let you decide one day concession for one hour for five days certainly it amounts to a half day work consumption, silently she enjoys the benefits of extending leave for the advanced stage. I agree we must respect motherhood and pregnancy is the rebirth of a woman, this does not mean we have to extend all such benefits beyond the limits for a benefit, this also proves costly from others point. Why not you grant leave for a male employee whose wife having the advanced stage of pregnancy for the benefit of the family, these questions arise at a later date and there will be a fix in the work force. Also, when a concessions initially given in a good faith will become a rule at a later date and many a organisations suffer because of the concessions extended find to be meaningless.

So, in the interest of the organisation you have to take a decision and not in the emotional situations. Permit usual leave (maternity leave etc.,) as applicable...

best of luck ...Never allow emotions tie your eyes ...

From India, Arcot
Dear Dipal,
Concession for one hour early relief just for a few days can prove to be rewarding for the management to buy the sincerity, efficiency and loyalty of the official, when she returns from matermity leave. So, there is nothing wrong if she wants to leave office early by one hour subject to accomplishment of her daily routine of duties and responsibilities.

From India, Delhi
Dear Shri Gopinath,
In response to your post, I can only say that the HRM does not warrant for the lack of human touch in tackling the problems of the employees. Exceptions are always there. Rigidity always mar employee-employer relations resulting in to dwindling of productivity of individuals in specific and of the organisation in general. Even you cannot deny to have availed concessions during your own service period. Balancing of attitudes and activities is a must even in private services.

From India, Delhi
The views expressed by the seniors are correct technically.However the learned member Mr.P.S Dhingra put forward a different perspective to the issue which I too endorse.I do not suggest Dipal Shah to accept or reject a woman employee's request for concessions on grounds of pregnancy but would like to acquaint her with the changing perspectives of HR and the circumstances that may have a bearing on the decisions to be taken in such situations.

Rules do not provide for every situation in work life and they leave many grey areas in employee relations and people management to the discretion,deftness and diligence of the management to deal with them.In most of these grey areas such as interpersonal relations or employer-employee relations,emotions control the consequences.So emotions do have a place in people management issues.Therefore organisations are now increasingly looking for HR professionals who are endowed with emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is now considered as a competency to understand and mange employee behaviors, moods and emotions. That is possible only when the HR professional is able to empathize, Empathy does not mean misplaced sympathy.Emotion lies at the center of the whole of employee engagement initiatives as it aims at bringing about employees' emotional involvement in contributing to the business only when it adds more value to it..

Pregnancy is considered as most emotional phase in the life of a woman and she does not like any circumstance that may interfere with her pregnancy.Even law seems to be not oblivious of this fact. That's why the Maternity Benefit Act 1961 in terms of Section 4 (3) & (4) makes it mandatory for the employer to consider requests of pregnant women for concessions from work of arduous nature or from standing for long hours or from any condition that may interfere with her pregnancy or pose the risk of miscarriage etc.The request can be genuine also. Probably the woman employee would like to avoid travelling in rush hour in a public transport if she is working in a metro city where there may be risk to her pregnancy.The doctor might have advised her about being extra cautionary while travelling or some more rest.Even if it is apprehended that it may become a precedent, it may be that such requests will be few and far between. However the benefits of such empathetic treatment can be that it may enhance the good will of the employer more so among women employees who may consider to stay longer with an employer who cares for them when they need it.It can make employees more engaged emotionally when they return to work.The HR need to examine the issue in totality of the circumstances and take a prudent decision.


From India, Mumbai
Please read 'extra cautionary' as 'extra cautious' in the last para of my post.The error is regretted.It went unnoticed even after I proof read it. B.Saikumar,
From India, Mumbai
I agree and fully ENDORSE the views of Mr. Dhingra and Mr. Sai Kumar.

These experienced members have given the Right suggestions.

HR management is more than just Rules and Procedures, which are, no doubt, a necessity.

However, there is more to HRM.

The first is :

"The Human Touch" !!!

Next comes :

"Concern for People" !!!!

In this case, since this is a GENUINE case, as the emolyee is 7-month pregnant !!!

No doubt, she will have difficulty in moving around or commuting during the RUSH HOURS !!

Moreover, if anybody wants to MISUSE this benevolent gesture of the Management;

They will HAVE TO GET THEMSELVES PREGNANT and be 7-month pregnant !!!!

So, how many employees can misuse such a benefit ????

--- All males are out of purview...

--- all unmarried females and widows or women more than 45-50 years of age; are out of purview...

--- we may reasonably consider women having a few kids, to be out of this ...

So how many cases can come in FUTURE, for such misuse ????

Moreover, consider the amount of goodwill generated among the employees.... !!!

Consider, how it will drive Loyalty, Employee-Engagement and Motivation among the employees !!!!

How it will contribute to more productivity and good relationship !!!!

Considering the Pros and Cons, one can easily arrive at the decision.

Its a great chance for the management to show-case itself as a Great Place to Work !!!!

Warm regards.

From India, Delhi
All that has been said is valid.
However, please note that it is possible for a pregnant woman to continue working right up to a day before her due date, unless she develops complications and has been advised a certain course by her consulting doctor.
Under the circumstances, it would be best to deal with such requests on a case to case basis and no precedents need be set. So the fear of such facilities being expected by other employees may be ruled out.
Please look into the exact reasons why the employee is requesting for such concessions. She may be having some genuine issues and the employee may not have shared the full situation with you.
Ask for the referring doctors certificate and based on all the evidences available, make a decision accordingly.

From India, Mumbai
Dear all,
I have read the replies with interest. When I read a reply in isolation, I find that the response is right given the paucity of information about the scenario. Thus, I have appreciated responses which seem to contradict each other.
I am sure that some of you would agree that it is better to seek clarification about the scenario first, before giving solutions. For example, Nathrao has raised valid questions and we should have waited for answers to those questions before airing views and making comments on others' views.
Please forgive me if I have hurt your feelings with my observations.

From United Kingdom
I totally agree with B.Saikumar.....Now a days HR are highly expert in Emotional intelligence....And every situation should be granted with both parameters rules and empathy to retain employee.....Only Financial Benefits cannot buy employee satisfaction....Other employees can also gain insight of company culture.....Companies like linked in facebook Amazon are going beyond the ways to facilitate woman employees and pregnancy....
Manashi Chakraborty

From India, Haora

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