Thursday, 30 June 2022

Maternity Laws in India

 Maternity Laws in India

According to the old laws that is Maternity Benefit Act, the women employees

were allowed to get 12 weeks of maternity leave where six weeks is for post

natal leave and six weeks for prenatal leave. In case if she suffers miscarriage or

in any case the pregnancy is terminated then also she is entitled to get six weeks

paid maternity leave and in the opposite situation if there are complications in

her pregnancy like premature birth or a tubectomy operation then she is entitled

to get one month additional paid maternity leave.

But under new laws which is Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act passed in the

year 2017, the leave has been extended. It has been raised from 12 weeks to 26

weeks. Also, the prenatal leave is from six weeks to eight weeks but if the

woman is already a mother of two or more children will get only 12 weeks

maternity leave and the prenatal leave also remain 6 weeks as it was before the

amendment Act passed.

According to me, this is not something which can be regarded as a good step.

The laws which includes leaves should be same for both the first time mother

and second and third time mother. Just because she has already given a birth

and suffered pain, it does not mean that she is used to it. Every time she will

give birth there will be extreme pain and sometimes unbearable. The

government should keep this in mind. Having already two or more children

does not make any difference in bearing of the child and its birth. The woman

has to go all that again. It doesn’t matter. Even sometimes complications occur

more as the woman has already given birth once or twice or thrice. The process

becomes more difficult and terrible and in that case they should be entitled to

get more weeks of leave but our government fails to realize this and have

amended the old law in such a way that it can only be fruitful for a first time

mother who is experiencing a pregnancy for the first time. And the womens

who have already experienced the pregnancy didn’t get any benefit. This is

discriminating in nature.

Further, there are some State laws also which includes some kind and

provisions related to the maternity leave. Like in Maharashtra, every woman is

entitled to get a maternity leave under the scheme established in Maharashtra

Employment Guarantees Act, 1977 who has worked for not less than 150 days.

Also, the maternity leave is available for all the female employees of private

schools also but there is no law related to maternity leave in the state of

Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Apart

from Maharashtra, only Rajasthan is having maternity laws for all pregnant

women at shops and commercial establishments. It is ruled under the Rajasthan

Maternity Benefit Act, 1953.

All these things show that some states recognize the difficulties of a pregnant

woman and some states are in a process to think. They have not made any

separate law or provision apart from the central government. As of now, they do

not provide any extra benefit apart from the scheme mentioned in the Maternity

Benefit Act. From a long time, maternity leave is regarded a reward which the

employer gives to its female employees. It is important here to note that it is not

a reward but a right of a woman. Woman are only entitled only to give a birth to

a child naturally and not men. She has the responsibility to produce babies and

in the process she faces so much difficulties with extreme pain and all. This

struggle should be recognized and accepted rather than looked upon. Apart

from this, they also have the right to work also and be independent.

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