With the passage of Maternity Bill and its subsequent amendments, it became crystal clear that the present government wants to give mothers their due and improve their healthcare. Our nation is doing a substantial amount of work to improve the maternal healthcare system with its infrastructure and by evolving it’s socio-legal support as well.
The increased weeks of leave and the compulsory crèche facilities for establishments are a substantial step to secure women empowerment and dignity at the workplace. But amidst all the roaring success of this bill, we happen to forget some of the gaps that still need our careful attention. Like some of the disadvantages of this bill are that now employers are reluctant to hire women employees as they have to bear the financial burden of their maternity leave. The loss of work hours is also a great problem arising out of such leaves.
Many more corrections are needed in the present statute. Currently, it only covers 4% of women workforce in formal employment. Therefore the coverage of this scheme can be enhanced to rope in people from lower rungs of society and expand to those covered by none of the beneficiary packages. We also need to discuss the issue of fiscal burdening the employer. The state can share his burden so as the scenario won’t deter the entry of women in the workforce.
But the most important lacunae of this bill and it’s related schemes is the ignorance of the role of a father in parenting. The male partner is generally seen as the bread-winner of the family, and this traditional definition of male partner hampers the family care in the early stages of the infant. And with the details of our legal solutions, it becomes clear that the state is also guided by the age-old traditional chains of family planning.
First of all, a lot of burden falls on the shoulders of women who are already vulnerable from the new motherhood experience. She is told that taking care of the baby is solely her responsibility. Father has no role in it. This sometimes leads to strained relations and affects the family bonding in the long-term. Then under the garb of such custom and norms, the father find it easy to escape the situation. Our society is formed in such a way that all the burden comes down on the shoulders of women only, be it taking care of a child or making an argument for gender sensitivity.
But with the gradual change of time, the thinking of the shared responsibility is growing, and many men are coming forward wanting to step up and play their part in childcare. But those who want to share the responsibility, they don’t get a proper chance to do their bit because of the non-existence of such provisions for them. Therefore, the Parental Bill is the right step in this direction.
The paternity bill introduced by Rajeev Satav is a solution to such woes. By addressing the very foundation of childcare, it proposes for the shared care by both parents. Not only this bill has legal provisions for ensuring the start of a new era, but it will be a great booster to the family environment. The paternal connection can be given similar attention as motherhood in the very early stages of child development. This will also cut the pressure on mothers to run after the child single-handedly. It is already evident that the family which is associated close generally brings in more happiness to the society. Also, it will also enhance the fundamental concept of equality especially in the dynamics of marriage.
The bill can be applied to both the formal and informal employment as the guidelines of the bill proposed. It can also chalk out the legal action against the employers not complying with the aforesaid bill. Therefore, I think it is a beautiful way to welcome the idea of fatherhood into the fabric of our childcare.
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