Maternity Benefit Act Amendment…Need of todays woman
Just shared a question on Facebook if the Maternity benefit act India needs amendment, answers were plenty of yes. Yesss!!! Maternity Benefit Act 1961 needs a lot of amendment; Let’s put some light on this critical topic today.
In India the scenario of maternity benefits is taking a shape in such a way that its getting difficult for career oriented women to cope with the critical work life balance. I know so many women those were excellent in their professional life, always got incentives more than there pay cheque, and were always appreciated for their extraordinary abilities to manage home and office together. They feel so proud of themselves, they feel happy and there happier life condition automatically keeps the family happier and that happiness reflects in our whole community. Then the same woman decides to start thinking about her family that can be her own decision or can be a pressurised outcome. Whatever is the case but labour pain is equally painful in both the cases, then all of a sudden she is considered as an unworthy employee of that organisation and the management starts manipulating her rights or the game plans starts taking form to ultimately make her resign or even if she takes all the maternity benefits , the act is not designed in such a manner to be called a benefit act anyways, 12 weeks of maternity leave with or without pay IS NOT ENOUGH.
Not an easy decision
Get this fact right that taking the decision of getting into motherhood has not always been an easy decision for any woman. It’s a headskratching moment for every woman who are well aware of the things that baby is getting along with him. We want to do best out of the available resources for our new guest, we want to give him time,nd its not about what we want its about what he needs. To take care of one’s baby, you need to be very cautious while he is in womb. Today to every third patient doctors are recommending bed rest for first three months. The whole gestation period must be stress free, hassle free, resting period, An expectatnt mother mus feel happy throughout pregnancy. Knowing all this , a woman knows very well that as she gets pregnant and the news spreads over in her work place, its destined for her to get lesser importance as a professional. She will not get the opportunities she could get otherwise, She would be kept out of the Board discussions most of the time because she might not be in the next employees list. Still she puts her career on stake so that she can bring a new life in this world, a capability she is blessed with. This is a sacrifice that she makes to honour what nature has designed and has put as a responsibilty on the human kind, But instead of honouring and supporting her for taking such a decision , we make this decision a curse for her career.
Paid Maternity leave is our right
I have seen it so many times that an organisation refuses to give paid maternity leaves to the female employees and the female employees also quietly accept that decision because they are indirectly threatened to loose there jobs. This is totally against law, no one can deny us to get our full wages during our maternity leaves, its our right and if somebody is doing so, it shoud not be considered as a favour.
According to the Maternity benefit Act 1961 every pregnant woman is entitled to get her full wages during her maternity leave of 12 weeks, which is 6 weeks before delivery and 6 weeks post-delivery. But few organisations today deny from all this so bluntly that we have no option left from either say yes to whatever they say or to simply leave the job. Women decide to take care of the still to arrive baby instead of going to court of law to get into fussier situation.
Do honour, Don’t Give up
As and when the news of an employee’s pregnancy spreads in an office starts, the speculation also start whether what will be the final result of the case. Victim is the expectant mother. She is already in such a condition where her every smile and every tear is going to effect the condition of her baby. She needs to take her special care and the office management prepares to put her under such a pressure that she would go under stress and will have to take a decision which never wanted.
She is already making so many sacrifices for the new comer that she doesn’t deserve to do more. She deserves to work in office, in quiet peaceful atmosphere, needs to relax, needs to smile and handle things smoothly with a smile on her face always. That does not mean she needs to sit at home. She is pregnant, not ill. She can work, in fact she can work better now as she understand that the new one needs the best and she has to earn more for that. She should feel secure in office also. She is in pressure of maternity but not dumb, I really don’t understand why a hard working efficient employee is considered as a liability and an unworthy employee after she gets pregnant? We need to show honour towards her instead of asking her to give up her job and sit at home and we say this very cleverly by adding buttered notes like ”Dear we think you must give time to yourself and your baby”, so simply leave please, and if you say no then ok you take the maternity leave but no pay please, we are already co -operating so much with you that we are going to let you come to office when you are done with delivery, you can leave your new born baby at some crèche and come to office to take our shit.
This is why I feel that the maternity benefit act of India needs to change a lot. We will continue this discussion in my next blog. Let’s hear your comments on this.
To be continued…