ICICI Bank, India's private sector lender, said Monday that women employees of the bank can work from home for one year, which can be further extended, depending on their needs.
The bank said it has tied-up with certain students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi, to provide access to their operating systems, "creating a seamless office-like environment."
"The innovative features of this programme enable the bank to roll it out across several functions and at the same time ensure that there is no loss of productivity. This has the potential to make 'iWork@Home' a highly scalable programme and also allow women managers to avail this facility for long periods of time, both of which make it totally unique," the bank said.
To ensure a secure environment, the bank has created a three-level security protocol that includes a unique facial recognition technology to prevent impersonation.
Tasks that can be done from home include checking loan disbursement documents, image-based verification of cheques for clearance and scrutinising documents at the first level for opening bank accounts and processing import-export documents for payments.
Besides, the bank said women managers with children up to three years of age will be provided with the cost of travel and stay of the child and a caregiver (family member or child caretaker), enabling the mangers to focus on work.
ICICI Bank also has special offers for women customers. The 'Advantage Woman Savings Account" offers unlimited free ATM usage at all banks, cash back up to a maximum of Rs 750 per month on usage of debit card at departmental stores, or for the purpose of dining, entertainment and utilities, and 30 percent discount on first year locker rentals.
Explaining the rationale behind the decision, ICICI Bank MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar said it is aimed to ensure that women are not forced to quit jobs for lack of support.
"Although women form 48% of the population in our country, their representation in the workforce is much lower than men. Many women who join the workforce are sometimes forced to take a break or even leave their jobs, due to various life stage needs like maternity and child care. To ensure that the working women do not leave the workforce, there is a strong need for a robust support system, both at home and at work," she said in a statement.