Apropos of “Balancing the costs of gender equity” (February 8), the government’s proposal in the Budget to limit the Provident Fund (PF) contribution of women employees to 8 per cent is regressive in effect. PF is a social security measure to provide financial support to employees after retirement or in times of dire need.
It is necessary because it compels employees to save for a rainy day. If the government is serious about encouraging women to join the workforce, it should think of substantive financial steps rather than cosmetic ones. The principle should be that more income comes in the hands of female assesses by reduced income tax liability and the employer is also financially benefited to encourage women participation in the workforce. Thus, it is desirable to have a lower income tax rate for women assesses compared with men at least up to a certain level of salary. Employers employing more than the stipulated percentage of women could be allowed additional incentives. Y G Chouksey Pune
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