By Sonakshi Madan:
The recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as the new CEO of Yahoo has opened a new gateway for all the pregnant working women. Mayer, who is 6 months pregnant, is the first pregnant woman to be appointed as the CEO of a leading company. The Board said, “The pregnancy wasn’t even a consideration in our decision to hire her”. One of the major tech industries embracing this kind of change is an example for the world to treat pregnancy in a different way. When the new CEO was questioned about her maternity leave, she said, “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.”
Like earlier, now it is unlawful for an employer to fire a pregnant woman. Women used to dread the very thought of losing their job and ending their flourishing career due to pregnancy. This breakthrough was brought in India by Maternity Benefits Act, 1961.
In India, under the Maternity Benefits Act 1961, 12 weeks maternity leave can be claimed- 6 weeks before due date, and 6 weeks after delivery. Under this act if an employee has worked for a minimum period of 80 days in a year for a particular company then an employee is entitled to maternity benefits which includes average of the daily wages for the total time period (maximum 3 months) during which the employee stays away from work. According to the law, pregnant women are prohibited from doing any grueling task, or standing for long durations or any other work that might cause them any inconvenience, 10 weeks prior to the due date of delivery. HR policies for pregnant working women deviate from one company to the other. They can be much more flexible at some places and can even provide medical insurance.
Nothing can stop a passionate woman from driving towards success. Pregnancy, considered as barrier, is actually catalyst that motivates a woman to achieve greater heights to give all the comforts to her child. Thus added zeal coupled with gusto to work for her child will make her excel in her field as Mayer is doing.
Pregnancy, the first step towards motherhood, is one of the most crucial time in the life of a women and looking after a child is considered as one of the toughest jobs on earth. When a women can handle that new challenge in her life skillfully then underestimating her on carrying a job smoothly (a job for which she has already proved her capabilities) because of her pregnancy sounds foolish. The dilemma should no longer exist in the minds of the employers that pregnant women will be any less efficient than the rest of the staff and Yahoo has proved that by their incredible step.