Feminism is bashed on a daily basis, but in times where women experience wage gap and their chances of getting employed at a high position is questionable, we cannot be oblivious to its need. We are well aware how angelic everything seemed when The Maternity bill was amended in 2017, but its repercussions were left unnoticed. A study conducted by Team Lease brings about the long-term effects of the reform, throwing light on how organisations are now restricting themselves from hiring women.
The act increased the maternity leave (paid leave) from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. To be eligible for the scheme the pregnant woman needs to have worked at least 80 days in the past year. Recently a Youtube video produced by Buzzfeed India showcased the problem well where the woman candidate is dismissed even after having the same qualification because she is newly married and maternity leave is in the pipeline.
In times where India is said to have entered the league of top progressive nations, such instances aren't really what one looks up to. While it is viewed as an expensive proposition by the authorities, they cannot ignore the 100% funded employer model present in the act. An excerpt from Times of India has Saundarya Rajesh, founder of Avtar Group, a leading diversity and inclusion consulting company, saying "The six-month maternity leave has had very wide and positive acceptance among large organizations. Even medium-sized organizations (Rs 50-100 crore turnover) have accepted this and have budgeted for provision in their payouts for 10-12% of their employee base to be on maternity leave at any given point of time. Unfortunately, this is not the case with micro and small enterprises."
Although not all the after events have been negative, Post Pregnancy attenuation has improved to a whooping 33% from 55 %. The Government can however improve the deal by a large extent if they encourage the all the establishments by giving away incentives. On a broader scale the core problem lies in the mindset of the people, they need to realize it is their loss, and how it is their investment which is being washed away. We sure have improved but there is a long way for us to go.