News by YKA Staff:
The Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Labour have agreed to almost double the paid maternity leave for employees in private companies to six and a half months, the Indian Express reported Tuesday. Women workers in private firms were earlier allowed to take three months of paid maternity leave, according to the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961, which will have to be amended to accommodate the change.
However, it appears to be only a partial victory for the WCD minister Maneka Gandhi who had earlier stated that all working women should be entitled to eight months of paid maternity leave, including those who had opted for adoption.
Currently, women who are government employees are entitled to six months of paid leave.
The spanner in the works comes from the Ministry of Labour which is reportedly opposed to increasing paid maternity leave to eight months, as it might affect the employment prospects of women.
The minister for Labour and Employment, Bandaru Dattatreya told the Parliament during the Winter session that the government was considering raising the maternity leave duration for women in the formal sector. He added that women who adopt a child will be entitled to four months of paid leave.
Pregnant women losing out on career opportunities was the subject of a recent ad by a clothing line which was called out for peddling privilege by some commentators.
The government’s decision to allow women in private sector to take a longer paid maternity leave is certainly well-intentioned. However, measures will have to be initiated to prevent further discrimination against them when it comes to hiring.