The Reducing Women’s Work Hours Bill
In June 2013, the outgoing Ahmadinejad administration introduced the Reducing Women’s Work Hours Bill. This bill mandates a reduction in hours women are allowed to work. Its proponents claim this is meant to increase the time women spend at home and with their children.
In an interview on August 11, 2014, with Fars News Agency, Fatemeh Aliya, a conservative Member of Parliament, stated, “Currently women’s work week is 44 hours and it will be reduced to 36 hours. The bill states that women who have children younger than seven or spouses with health issues can [either] take one full day off or work a little less every day.”
The bill’s effect on employment opportunities for women, given employers’ likely concerns about the limit on work hours, was noted by Shahindokht Molaverdi, Rouhani’s vice president for Women and Family Affairs, in an interview on September 13, 2013, with ISNA: “Passing bills such as Reducing Women’s Work Hours harms women’s employment opportunities in the short- and long-term.”
The bill was debated in Parliament after Rouhani took office in August 2013, and was passed by the Social Affairs Committee of Parliament in late 2014. As of this writing it has not yet been sent to the floor of Parliament for a vote.