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PoSH Annual report filing Simplified:
Annual Report filing is becoming a big discussion point at all our Internal Committee meets as there is a lot of ambiguity among HR leaders, Compliance Officers about how to go about it. I thought of putting it down clearly so employers are clear about their roles in being compliant.
As per Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, 2013, there are 2 reports to be submitted by the employer:
1. It is the duty of the ICC to submit an annual report, which includes the number of cases filed/disposed of every calendar year to the employer and district office.
2. The employer has a statutory obligation to ensure this report is included in the annual report of the organization filed to the Registrar of companies.
Section 21 – Internal Committee to submit annual report:
As per the Act – “(I) The Internal Committee or the Local Committee shall in each calendar year prepare, in such form and when may be prescribed, an annual report and submit the same to the employer and the District Officer.
(2) The District Officer shall forward a brief report on the annual reports received
The Act mandates submission of an Annual Report by the ICC/LCC to the employer/District Officer. The District Officer will forward a brief report on the annual reports to the appropriate State Government. Such reports must include the following information:
1. No. of complaints received;
2. No. of complaints disposed of;
3. No. of cases pending for more than 90 days;
4. No. of workshops/awareness programmes carried out;
5. Nature of action taken by the employer/DO;
The Report of ICC will be forwarded to the DO through the employer.
Section 22 – Employer to include information in the Annual report
As per the Act – “The employer shall include in its report the number of cases filed, if any, and their disposal under this Act in the annual report of his organisation or where no such report is required to be prepared, intimate such number of cases, if any, to the District Officer.”
The latest Director’s Report submitted under the Companies Act has a section to capture the compliance to the PoSH Act, 2013. This report is filed along with the Annual returns to the Registrar of companies. Unfortunately, many Auditors and Directors are not aware of this latest report or end up filling this section as Nil while submitting this. Director’s report as part of the Annual Report /Annual returns Filing is filed to the Registrar of Companies.
The latest Director’s Report for FY 15-16 Submitted under the Companies Act has the below section:
DISCLOSURE UNDER THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE
The Company has in place an Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy in line with the requirement of the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2013. Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) has been set up to redress complaints received regarding sexual harassment. All employees (Permanent, Contractual, Temporary, Trainees) are covered under this policy.
The following is the summary of sexual harassment complaints received and disposed of during the year 2016-2017.
No. of Complaints received during the year:
No. of Complaints disposed of during the year:
Section 23 – State Government to track and maintain the data
As per the Act – “The appropriate Government shall monitor the implementation of this Act and maintain data on the number of cases filed and disposedof in respect of all cases of sexual harassment at workplace.”
This data is closely tracked and monitored by all the district officers and is consolidated by the Ministry of WCD.
An employer can be subjected to a penalty of up to INR 50,000 for:
• Failure to constitute Internal Complaints Committee
• Failure to act upon recommendations of the Complaints Committee; or
• Failure to file an annual report to the District Officer where required; or
• Contravening or attempting to contravene or abetting contravention of the Act or Rules.
Where an employer repeats a breach under the Act, they shall be subject to:
• Twice the punishment or higher punishment if prescribed under any other law for the same offence.
• Cancellation/Withdrawal/Non-renewal of registration/license required for carrying on business or activities.
Monitoring is a critical yardstick to measure success in terms of compliance with the Act. Additionally, it highlights those areas, in terms of law and practice, which may require improvement and/or additional information and guidance at both the State as well as the workplace levels.