Maternity leaves have always been a huge challenge for working women. This is the reason why plenty of women drop out of the corporate workforce. India is among the 16 countries in the world that give the longest paid leave to new mothers. This is done to ensure a smooth transition for women from home to work. The paid maternity leave has been extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for Indian women working in the corporate sector.
The long-paid leave is beneficial to new mothers
The new amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 is a great, progressive accomplishment. It is tremendously beneficial for working women in India. It indicates the overall economic and social advancement of the country. Even before the amendment was made, several corporate organizations recognized the necessity of a long paid leave for their female employees during pregnancy.
Companies like Godrej, Accenture, HUL, and Flipkart had been offering 6 months of maternity leave long before the amendment came into the consideration. Thus, we can see that corporate India is supporting maternity today, compared to what the situation was a few years back. Qualified female employees are extremely valued in the marketplace today, where hiring and retaining skilled employees is the greatest challenge faced by the organizations. Therefore, companies are supporting their skilled female employees by giving them a long maternity leave.
In the past when companies were not supportive towards women and did not grant a long maternity leave, women struggled to focus on their work at the office. They felt distracted at work and were compelled to take leave frequently. When women found it difficult to maintain the work-life balance, they resigned from the job. However, not everyone supports the extended maternity leave!
Many women feel that a long six-month maternity leave can prove to be a huge setback in bridging the gender gap. Many corporate leaders feel that the new maternity law would make things difficult for working women as private companies would hesitate from recruiting more female employees.
Large multinational firms like PepsiCo and L'Oréal have accepted the new law. They understood that flexible work hours and extended maternity leave are mandatory to support women during their journey of motherhood. Dabur and TVS Motors have also adopted the new policy. However, small and medium enterprises in India argued that the same law cannot be applied to all companies.
The parameters should differ from company to company, depending on its size and scale. Although corporate India is supporting maternity today, there are many companies that are against the long maternity leave.
Economists feel that the new amendment will result in gender inequality and might prove harmful to ambitious women who want to climb the corporate ladder. Many women might not get a good job as companies will think twice before recruiting female employees. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!