Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
After the recent amendments of August, 2016; the paid maternity leave in India has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. A welcome move by the government, this would provide a much needed breather to many couples planning to start a family.
However, will this be sufficient? Probably not. Lets find out why:
Women in the unorganized sector will not be able to reap the benefits of the act. Let’s not go too far. How many of us have ever given a paid maternity leave to our maids? Not many would be a fair guess. Women working in factories have to slog through their pregnancies while doing heave physical labour. A condition which has not changed in the country for many years.
Don’t for a moment think that this doesn’t happen in large corporations. Discrimination at the workplace during and post pregnancy is a common concern. Hundreds of women have lost their promotions and received terrible feedback in the appraisal cycle just because they were pregnant. Not all employers fall in the same category and many go out of their way to help their employees have a comfortable pregnancy and post pregnancy experience.
Providing options like work from home, extended maternity leaves and a paid paternity leave can go a long way in solving the problem.
We would love it if you shared your pregnancy stories this Woman’s Week. Tell us how your employers helped to have a great time and went out of their way to make you feel comfortable. After all, it’s the little things that help create long term bonds.