Maternity Leave Policy In India: How Helpful Is It To Working Women?
Motherhood is a beautiful journey which does not end in nine months with the delivery of baby rather it keeps evolving with many beautiful moments like yawning of a baby, smile of a baby while it is sleeping, those little moves, the way your baby grabs your finger or when he/she takes first steps and apart from this the most important for baby’s development is breastfeeding that no mother would ever like to compromise with.
Not to forget the difficult moments of early motherhood when you are just trying to figure out to manage your baby while it is screaming or crying, when you’re learning how to bathe and feed the baby, figuring out baby’s likes& dislikes, Baby’s feeding patterns; keeping the mom on her toes throughout the day and of course at night too. Every mother will face these challenges.
Due to statutory 3 months paid maternity leave policy in most of the organizations, many a times women have to take a break from their career.
However, for women at jobs and in most of the organizations mothers get only three months paid maternity leave and then she has to join her workplace leaving her baby at home, which is very difficult for any mother to do as she knows she is leaving her baby when the baby is in development phase and needs the mother most, sometimes this guilt can affect their over-all health and work life too.
A maternity leave not only is important so that the new mother can take care of her baby because the newborn needs her, but it is also a recovering phase for the woman. Pregnancy and childbirth can take a toll on a woman’s body and during this she still has to give her whole and soul to her baby. During such a phase, she also needs physical and mental rest and not additional responsibilities or stress.
Due to statutory 3 months paid maternity leave policy in most of the organizations, many a times women have to take a break from their career and those who can’t do so, for them it becomes difficult to deal with their responsibilities at home and at work.
So the question is how cooperative, relevant and helpful is current Maternity Leave Policy in India?
Should women compromise their careers just to experience the joys of early motherhood and the responsibilities it brings along?
Can we create a conducive atmosphere for working women with flexible and relevant maternity leave policies?
Motherhood, which is a natural biological occurrence in a woman’s life, should hinder her chances and performance at work?
In this confused and not so bright scenario, there are some companies who have introduced exemplary policies to help their female employees work effectively and constructively post childbirth.
Here is a “welcome” move from Tech Start up InMobi, which launched flexible paid maternity leave for 6 months, keeping true to their “Live Your Potential” People Philosophy.
This move is a result of survey done at InMobi India office about women’s transition to work after attaining mother hood , and what they found is lack of leave is not a main issue but leaving new born baby at home was.
Also, the ever-ticking biological clock of women sometimes induces them to opt for pregnancy despite of being in the peak of their careers. In another instance, tech giants like Facebook and Apple announced in 2014, that they would pay for female employees to freeze their eggs where they can have flexibility to have a child whenever they want to without worrying about their egg quality owing to increasing age. Such tech companies in Silicon Valley have added to their maternity benefits to keep the female talent in the company motivated and encouraged to work to their fullest potential which in a way affects the company also in a good way.
When and how will majority of our Indian organizations understand this and comply with better, more effective maternity benefits and policies?
This article was authored by Krutika Katrat for Oowomaniya.