Six-month maternity leave to help more women seek jobs: Govt

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NEW DELHI: With six months maternity leave, more and more women workers would be inclined to seek employment, Parliament was informed today.

The response comes on a query whether the government has taken cognizance of the fact that six-month maternity leave could cause non-recruitment of female employees in the corporate sector.

“The government is of the opinion that with enforcement of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017, more and more women workers would be inclined to seek employment which will lead to increase in employment preferences for women,” Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

He further said there are stringent provisions under Maternity Benefit Act as well as the Equal Remuneration Act for prevention of discriminatory practices against women workforce, including recruitment.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by Lok Sabha in March, months after Rajya Sabha approved the measure that takes India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave after Canada and Norway where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks, respectively.

Under the new law, women working in the organised sector would be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks from the previous 12 weeks.

The new law would apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement would be only up to first two children. For third child, the entitlement is only 12 weeks.

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