The government is likely to clear a proposal to fund half of the paid leave amount that the employer give in the extended maternity leave scheme. As per ET’s conversation’s with a senior labor ministry official, who did not wish to be named, “The scheme is pending approval from the finance ministry. Labour ministry is hopeful it will be cleared soon.”
Under this scheme, the government will pay the salary for seven weeks of extended leave under maternity benefits offered by the companies. The amount would be reimbursed to the employers engaging women workers with a wage ceiling up to Rs. 15000, providing 26 weeks’ pair maternity leave.
Cost To Government
The scheme is estimated to cost government Rs. 400 crore per year.
Benefits To Women
It would reduce cost pressure on companies and would encourage hiring more women. The proposed scheme would ensure better access to employment for women by reducing the cost burden on companies. The proposals is coming after complainants from women’s organizations that claimed that employers avoid women hiring female workers and at times women are asked to leave before maternity to avoid costs. An amendment to the Maternity Benefits Act, passed in March 2017, raised paid maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, benefitting 1.8 million women workers in the organized sector. The law applies to all the establishments employing 10 or more people. The entitlement applies in case of women having only up to 2 children.