The Union Women and Child Development Ministry announced on November 15, 2018, that the government will refund the employers the salaries for the first seven of the 26 weeks of maternity leave for women earning more than Rs 15,000 a month.
The Ministry’s decision came in the wake of complaints that many companies were reluctant to hire pregnant women after maternity leave was extended from 12 to 26 weeks and some were even firing women employees.
1. The decision covers both the government as well as the private sector.
2. The government has decided to utilise the funds lying in the labour welfare cess to pay the employers.
3. The utilisation of the cess lying with the state governments has been very less.
4. Hence, the government decided after talks with the Labour Ministry that the seven of the 26 weeks of maternity leave for all women employees in the private and government sector getting more than Rs 15,000 a month would be paid from that fund.
5. The maternity leave for pregnant women was extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks in 2017.