maternity leave

Eight Months Maternity Leave – A Good Or A Bad Proposal For Women?

An initiative considered by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD), Maneka Gandhi would be praised and embraced by major part of women across the nation. The reason behind their expected happiness is the minister’s new proposal of raising 3 months maternity leaves to 8 months.

What The WCD Says:

“We have mooted a proposal of extending the maternity leave for working women from present three months to eight months to the Cabinet Secretariat for a discussion in the Committee of Secretaries. This matter was taken up by our minister with the Prime Minister and he is also very interested, so we are sending a copy to him,”


 What’s In The Package:

  • It benefits every women working in organised and unorganised sector
  • It includes one month leave before expected delivery date and seven months after delivery
  • Eight Months – Paid!

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Not A Very Good Idea?

Offering eight months paid leaves for expecting mothers will be something which no women would refuse or critic about; however, this would rightly target the very thought of almost every women, that is Equality! Having considered the biological difference between men and women, given 3 months of paid maternity leaves and 15 days of paternity leaves is sufficient. Should the 3 months option remain intact?

  • Feminist’s policy of Gender Equality will be respected!
  • Company policy of treating every employees on the same base will not be disturbed
  • Employers would not prefer newly married women or women falling in the expected marriage age category. i.e 20-27 for instance
  • Many women have already taken mis-advantage of the 3 months maternity policy, just to get paid leaves for months. (They join the company when they are already pregnant or they are planning one).
  • Thus, giants like HSBC and others have made it compulsory for particular age group of married women to take a pregnancy test prior agreeing to the job.
  • Instead of extending the maternity leaves from 3 to 8 months, one can work from home.

Post Delivery, a woman needs to get back to the normal bodily functions which would set back to place within 3 months, providing extended paid months would definitely get her more attention to the newborn but at the same time it may pull her away from her professional life. It may drag her to make permanent decisions of being dependent.

What Women Should Really Be Offered?

  • Working from home on flexible hours, would fetch dual profit – To the Company and for the Employee.
  • A Company – both organised and unorganised can also offer flexible working hours for women in office.
  • By working option from home, a mother would not remain aloof from the happenings at work and would also give her precious time to motherhood.
  • Instead of extending the months, government can initiate economic based policies wherein women get little relief in hospital bills which are massive.

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Initiatives To Get Inspired

  • IBM is planning to initiate a service to help the mom employee’s by shipping their breast milk home for their babies while the mother’s are on business trip.
  • Much appreciated move by Flipkart:  Apart from the maternity leaves, Four months of flexible working hours with full pay, employees can take a year long career break without pay and roll back to the job after 12 months.
  • Flipkart again: Rs. 600 transport reimbursement for 2 months before going to the maternity leave. Maternity claim of Rs 65,000 for normal delivery and Rs 80,000 for C-Section
  • Licia Ronzulli, member of the European Parliament, has been taking her daughter Vittoria to the Parliament sessions for two years now. There’s always a way to make it work.

Looking at the scenario, this is just an hypothetical consideration, it may also build up great bond between a mother and a child, which many hardcore professional woman lack to do. The right result can only be judged once it is implemented both at the papers and in a woman’s life spread vastly across India. We wish whatever the implementation is, should come with benefits on equality ground. So, fingers crossed!

BTW Ladies, what do you think a women in the pregnancy phase should be offered by her employer?

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