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Maternity Effect: Will Startups Use 'Pregnancy Clause' in Work Contracts?

For the early-stage startups this would be very difficult to follow or adhere to this Act as the startups are usually low on cash flow and the finances are slow to come in. They might not hire married women or those who would want to bear children soon.

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The Lok Sabha today passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which will raise the maternity leave for working women in public and private sector from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children.

The maternity leave beyond the first two children will continue to be 12 weeks. The bill will now be sent to the President for his assent before it becomes an Act. It has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha during last winter session.

Recognizing that women who adopt or use a surrogate to bear a child also need time to bond with the child in the initial months, the bill also extends a 12-week maternity leave to adapting and commissioning mothers.

The bill is gender-neutral that will allow even a male employee to take his child to a crèche, if it is far away from the mother’s workplace.

It also allows employers to permit woman to work from home if it is possible to do so. “This has been done to help new mothers. However, we have left it for the employers to decide,” said a senior Union labour ministry official.

For the early-stage startups this would be very difficult to follow or adhere to this Act as the startups are usually low on cash flow and the finances are slow to come in. They might not hire married employees or those who would want to bear children soon. This would affect the private sector adversely but of course would be the worst hit. Also, experts say ‘pregnancy terms & conditions’ or ‘Clauses’ might be added in the work-contracts before they are signed, just the way they are in film-contracts.

Do you have anything to add to this point-of-view or any counter perspective? Please share with author at: soumya@businessworld.in


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