This shows that 78 per cent MSMEs and startups in India have reduced workforce in the last 8 months since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out and only 22 per cent startups and MSMEs have the same or increased workforce as compared to the pre-COVID levels.
The Government also took steps to help these small businesses through the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme, but its advantages per feedback from businesses in July this year have been quite limited, the survey said.
In 2017, the Indian Government passed the Maternity (Amendment) Bill that increased the right to paid maternity leave for working women from 3 months to 6 months – the third highest in the world. Although this was great news for nursing mothers, a ripple effect of this decision was noticed in many small businesses who reduced hiring of women in their organizations, purely due to financial reasons and the cost of funding maternity leave benefits. Though the Government came back and moved a proposal allowing companies to file reimbursement of 7 of the 26 weeks of maternity pay, there were few takers amongst small businesses.
Startups and MSMEs were asked about how employment of women has been in their business 8 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, 7 per cent said women in their workforce have been reduced by 50-100 per cent, 12 percent said women in their workforce have reduced by 25-50 per cent, and 12 per cent said women in our workforce have been reduced by up to 25 per cent. 46 percent said they still have same number of women in the workforce as pre COVID-19. Not a single business reported increase in the number of women employees during the course of the 8 months of COVID-19 pandemic.