Lok Sabha passed the bill to benefit around 1.8 million women in India. The amendment of the bill takes India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for the maternity leave. The bill will “pave the way for a healthy and secure mother and a well-nourished child.”
The Maternity Benefit 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of pregnancy and allows her to get full pay in the absence from work to take care of the child.
Here are some of the highlights of the amendments in the Maternity Bill benefit:
- It aims at protecting the employment of women during women’s pregnancy and also ensures full pay during this period.
- Women working in the organized sector will be given paid-leave of 26 weeks up from 12 weeks.
- Maternity leave for more than 2 children will be 12 weeks only.
- The new law is valid for all the business ventures having minimum of 10 employees.
- If the establishment has minimum of 30 women employees or 50 employees (which so ever is less), then the law makes the firm mandatory to have a crèche facilities either in the office or near the office. The maximum distance should not exceed 500mentre radius.
- The mother should be allowed to visit her child atleast 4 times in a day; this will also include her interval for rest.
- It should also allow the women workers to work from home, if possible.
- The bill extends for 12 weeks for the mothers who adopt or bears the surrogate child.
An activist told IPS, “studies shows that it will benefit only 1.8 million women in the organized sector leaving out practically 99% of the country’s women workforce. If this isn’t discrimination, what is? In India, women’s paid workforce constitutes just 5% of the 1.8 million. The rest falls within the unorganized sector. How fair is it to leave out this lot from the ambit of the new law?
Pritam Munde (BJP) said, a father also has equal responsibility as that of mother. Both mother and father should be given benefits so that they can raise the child together.
This is one of the best gift ever given to a women worker on Women’s Day!