Govt plans ma­ter­nity ben­e­fit for women in in­for­mal sec­tor

Ac­cord­ing to rough es­ti­mates, this could ben­e­fit around 4 crore work­ing women like house­hold maids, con­struc­tion work­ers and oth­ers work­ing in un­or­gan­ised sec­tor

The Financial Express - - ECONOMY - Fe Bureau

New Delhi, Aug 12: A day af­ter se­cur­ing Ra­jya Sabha nod to amend Ma­ter­nity Ben­e­fit Act, 1962 to en­hance paid ma­ter­nity leave for women work­ing in an or­gan­ised sec­tor es­tab­lish­ment to 26 weeks from the present 12 weeks, labour min­istry on Fri­day said it is con­sid­er­ing ex­tend­ing the fa­cil­ity to women work­ing with un­or­gan­ised sec­tor as well.

Ac­cord­ing to rough es­ti­mates,this could ben­e­fit around 4 crore work­ing women like house­hold maids, con­struc­tion work­ers and oth­ers work­ing in the un­or­gan­ised sec­tor.

“We are plan­ning to bring women work­ing in th eu nor gan is ed sec­tor un­der the purview of the ma­ter­nity ben­e­fit act. How­ever, it re­quires a lot of dis­cus­sion­with the states. This can not be done in a hurry,” labour min­is­ter Ban­daru Dat­ta­treya told re­porters here. There had been de­mand from cer­tain sec­tion of the mem­bers of the Up­per House to bring those work­ing in the un­or­gan­ised sec­tor un­der the purview of the Bill.

The ex­ten­sion of the leave to the women in or­gan­sied sec­tor hav­ing 10 or more em­ploy­ees is re­quired to al­low the mother to take care of the child dur­ing the for­ma­tive days. It is also in­tended at im­prov­ing the women par­tic­i­pa­tion in the labour force, which has been on the wane, the min­is­ter said.

The Bill seeks to pro­vide the ex­tended ben­e­fit to the mother who has less than two sur­viv­ing chil­dren. In oth­ers cases, the ex­ist­ing ben­e­fit will con­tinue. Those work­ing on con­tracts could also avail the ben­e­fit, the min­is­ter said.

In­dia has 2.8 crore work­force in the or­gan­ised sec­tor of which 18 lakh are women.

The Ma­ter­nity Ben­e­fit (Amend­ment) Bill, passed in the Raj ya S ab ha on Au­gust 11, could not be passed on the fi­nal day of the cur­rent mon­soon ses­sion in the Lok Sabha on Fri­day. The labour min­istry is ex­pect­ing it to get passed in the win­ter ses­sion of Par­lia­ment.

The Bill also pro­poses to pro­vide 12 weeks ben­e­fit to com­mis­sion­ing mother (in case of sur­ro­gate child) and adopt­ing mother (in case of adop­tion) from the date the child is handed over.

It also makes it manda­tory for any es­tab­lish­ment hav­ing 50 or more work­ers to have the fa­cil­ity of crèche ei­ther in­di­vid­u­ally or as a shared ba­sis. Those will vi­o­late the rules will be en­ti­tled with upto one year im­pris­on­ment and a penalty of up to R 5,000.

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