Working plan for pregnant women: Labour ministry plans financial support for employers on maternity leaves

It has been seen that employers let go their female workers who claim maternity benefits, to stop that the government has mulled a plan in which it will encourage the hiring of women and keeping them employed during their maternity period.

According to Economic Times, the labour ministry has proposed to reimburse employers the salaries paid for seven of the additional 14 weeks of maternity leave for female employees in the Rs 15,000 salary bracket who have been EPFO subscribers for 12 months. This policy will be started in Delhi and Maharashtra on a pilot basis, and later will be spread across India. According to the plan of the labour ministry, in which employers to bear half the salary payable for the additional 14 weeks of leave provided under the amended Maternity Benefit Act.

The labour ministry is expected to finalise the proposal soon. The several presentations regarding the proposal have been made before the labour ministry. The presentation showed how the extended maternity leave has become a deterrent for female employees who are asked to quit before they go on maternity leave.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during their maternity leave and entitles them to benefits including full pay. Under the MB Act, a woman is eligible to receive maternity benefit if she has worked for at least 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding her expected date of delivery. The Act is applicable to all establishments which are factories, mines, plantations, Government establishments, shops and establishments under the relevant applicable legislation, or any other establishment as may be notified by the Central Government.

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