Friday, September 12, 2014

Amend the outdated maternity leave benefit law

Maternity benefit Act 1961 is so outdated and impractical, IMO !

Point 1 : The maximum period for which any woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit shall be twelve weeks of which not more than six weeks shall precede the date of her ex delivery

Issue : Just 3 months of leave for a new born or yet to be born?
How can a mother leave a 2 or 3 month old kid in creche or foster care and start working?
Some countries have 2 year leave policy. In India, it should be atleast 12 months after pregnancy. Some govt organizations have 2 yr extended leave policy but its not uniform across all sectors since the rules are set to 12 week maximum leave.

Point 2 : Nursing breaks.-Every woman delivered of a child who returns to duty after such delivery shall, in addition to the interval for rest allowed to her, be allowed in the course of her daily work two breaks of the prescribed duration for nursing the child until the child attains the age of fifteen months.

Issue : The term "prescribed duration" is ambiguous. According to the Factories Act, break is 20 minutes. If the factory has creche facility, prescribed duration is 20 minutes ;if not ; a 15 minute extra allowance is given for to and for travel. In this era, who lives in a house which is 15 min 2 way drive from factory?
In case of Karnataka Shops and Establishment Act (all IT companies fall under this act), this section of nursing breaks is not even found !

In IT industry, there are instances where interview panel members or managers reject female candidates who are recently married since they forsee a employee who can avail maternity leave in coming days.
Even today, there is lot of exploitation, harassment and gender bias in organized and un-organized sector for women when it comes to maternity benefits and leave policy.

NO political party or women right organization have taken amendment of this act to present times as a issue.

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