ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

maternity LeaveSubscribe to maternity Leave

Gamechanger or a Trojan Horse?

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, a key legislation in India that enables women to transcend the public–private dichotomy and stake their claim for productive participation in the labour force, saw major amendments in 2017. Four aspects of the amendments—increased maternity leave, maternity leave for adoption and surrogacy, provision of crèche, and paternity leave—are juxtaposed with feminist and constitutional principles as well as ground-level realities and practices. An increase in maternity benefits in law with a neglect of paternity leave and benefits is a lopsided approach that further reinforces gendered division of labour and care work as the domain of women. The social responsibility of employers is emphasised, and a deeper engagement of the state with the policy of parental benefits is advocated.

How Can the Maternity Benefit Act Increase Female Workforce Participation?

In order to promote women’s participation in the workforce, the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, was amended to provide more beneficial entitlements to women employees. However, they appear to impose the entire cost of these benefits on employers, which could lead to a negative trend in hiring women in meaningful roles.
Back to Top