On account of Women’s day, the Minister of Child and Women Development, Menaka Gandhi has given one good news. The Maternity Bill was passed under the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016. This bill has paved the way for an increase in the maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children. Apart from this, there were also other features like mandating the presence of creche near every organization, allowing the mothers to visit the creche for 4 times in a day, improved maternity leave for adoption and surrogate mothers, etc.
Advantages of Maternity Bill:
Some of us feel happy that the increase in maternity leave and other benefits will be useful for working mothers. The child under six months of age can completely rely on breastfeeding, without the need of switching to other commercial milk products. Through breastfeeding, the child will be able to acquire the immunity needed for fighting certain diseases. The mother, on the other hand, will also be able to take care of her own health after a stressful delivery. Considering the fact that the families are moving the nuclear way, the increase in maternity leave and creche facilities will help the new parents to cope up with the professional as well as personal life.
When these advantages are weighed, the mothers might reconsider their decision of leaving their job and staying at home. If at least it helps a particular percentage of mothers to come back to work, the gender differences in the labor market will reduce a great extent.
But there is another side of the coin.
- It can be noticed that women are increasingly pursuing their career mostly in the Special Economic Zone (SEZs). There is a great possibility that the organizations who are trying their hand in India’s labor market, might view this as a disadvantage. As a consequence, there is a possibility of reducing the intake of women employees in the organization. What is the government planning to counteract this?
- Even if the organization recruits a women employee, they might not be given the necessary promotions or career advancements. This will be especially applicable to the newly married women in the organization.
- There are more details required regarding the creche facility that the government is requesting the organizations to put in place. Will the creche facility be shared among the other organizations in the same location? What is the age limit of the kids for the creche facility to be availed? Who will bear the cost of the creche facility? Will it is a government-owned one or the new/existing private creche?
- Every day, we are hearing a lot of child sex abuse incidents. With the increase in the creche facilities, I hope that things would still become worse. The government must bring a very strong action against such child sex abuse and take up measures to even prevent it from happening. Only when such measures are bought, the creche facilities provided would be effective for the working mothers. Otherwise, it will simply add to the already existing fear in the minds of the working mothers.