Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar on Wednesday said that the hike in maternity leaves under the new law had adversely affected women employment in the country, but assured that there was a remedy for that.
When asked if the increase in maternity leaves to 26 weeks from 12 weeks earlier had impacted women employment negatively, Gangwar said, “We think that women employment is not increasing due to this reason (Maternity Benefit Act).”
In March 2018, the government had notified the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, that made changes in some of the provisions of existing law that entitled certain benefits to women employees.
The Act increased paid maternity leave to 26 weeks from 12 weeks. The new law made it mandatory for every establishment with 50 or more employees to have the facility of creche within a prescribed distance.
The minister, however, asserted that the certain provisions in the Act like now women can work from home during the leave period can help address the issue. “There is a remedy,” the minister added.
Earlier, a report had outlined that the most progressive reforms may make it hard for up to 18 lakh women to find jobs this financial year.
Only 27 per cent of the total workforce in India is women and 14 per cent of the overall women workforce is employed in the formal sector, the bill will significantly hamper the entry of new women into the workforce, the report by staffing solutions provider TeamLease had noted.
(With PTI inputs)