Most white collar jobs in the country are taken up by men. Lapped up by the patriarchal society and taken into control under the pretext of reproducing humankind, maternity benefits should be the least of women’s concerns as they head into the workforce. The last thing on the list of concerns should be having to give up their passions over having to pursue a healthy and fulfilling family life.
The Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017 ensured that women in the country would be enabled maternity benefits (paid maternity leave), the option to work from home and mandatory creches for childcare in organisations with more than 50 people.
This doesn’t pose as a problem unless the people in the organisations that women work for offer them to rather quit their jobs. This puts around 1.7 million at risk of quitting a job.
The women workforce in India has experienced a decline in the past decade. According to a Bloomberg report, they have reduced from 36 percent in the last decade to 24 percent. In 2017, World Bank ranked India among the worst countries in terms of employing women. Indian ranked 120th among 131 countries, closely followed by Saudi Arabia.
According to 2015 findings by management consultant firm McKinsey and Co., an increase in women in the workforce can add up to Rs 700,000 crore to India’ GDP. In 2017, an Indiaspend study found that only 27 percent of the women in Indian were employed.
Women working in the unorganized sectors such as agriculture and labour remain even further aloof from maternity healthcare or employment benefits. Almost 70 percent of the farmers in India are women though they receive no employment benefits from “farmers’ schemes” that the government launches for the betterment of those employed by the agricultural sector.
The law, which makes India the most progressive country after Canada and Norway in enabling women to stay on in the workforce, will probably lead to job losses and discourage smaller businesses and start-ups from hiring women, the survey by TeamLease Services Ltd. said. An estimated 1.1 million to 1.8 million women will lose their jobs across 10 sectors in the financial year to March 2019 because of the law, the survey showed.
If this estimate is computed across all the sectors, the job loss number would be an estimated 10-12 million across all sectors, according to the survey by the staffing and human resources company.
Set in a socially conservative background we see Indian women often deprived of their rights to choose to work. On the flip side, wealthier women are discouraged on the pretext of having enough riches while sometimes they only opt to take this route to get to their goal of fending for their family if the men fall short on their role of finding efficient salaries. Even the women that sometimes choose to get a career are pressured and burdened by their families to quit because of responsibilities of siblings or families.
In the eight years since 2004, about 20 million of male counter-parts; the size of the combined populations of New York, London and Paris, vanished from India’s workforce, the World Bank estimates.
Prime Minister Modi might have taken steps to counter the losses yet in a horrid turn of events as the law that entitles the other gender working in the organized sector to 26 weeks paid maternity leave, up from 12 weeks.
Bearing these costs has managed to miff a few businesses.
Post-maternity retention could cost 80 percent to 90 percent of the annual salary for white collar employees, and up to 135 percent of annual salary for blue collar employees, the survey said.
“These kind of reforms are essentially supported by proactive governments across the world with complementing tax concessions, which are missing in India,” said K. Sudarshan, managing partner for India at executive search firm EMA Partners International. “Small and medium-sized companies generally operate with less staff. If two of five women employees opt for maternity leave, that can cripple the firm itself.”
In a country with there have been eclectic stakeholders, definitely, a sound maternity benefits scheme might not be enough to help all the women in the workforce and businesses may also end up alienating employers.