Maternity leave in higher education: Govt takes landmark step

If you get married or get pregnant while you are in the process of completing your Phd or MPhil, there is no cause for worry.  In an attempt to improve the incentives for the educational process for women, the University Grants Commission(UGC), under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), recently relaxed norms for women enrolled in either MPhil or Phd after 2009. The key alterations that came with the new initiative include:

1. An extra year for women to complete their MPhil;

2. Two extra years for completion of PHd. Women will now have 8 instead of 6 years to complete their course;

3. Anytime during the course, women can avail maternity or child care leave for upto 240 days;

4. If a woman gets married, she would now have the option of relocating to a University in the city she is being married into. Such norms are needed specifically for women, since the general societal expectations still put the burden of relocating after marriage on women.

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Image Credit: Huffington Post

Maternity now enjoy longer maternity leave (Picture Credit: Huffington Post)

Earlier this year, thanks to the efforts of Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, paid maternity leave for women employees in the private sector was compulsorily doubled. This was a welcome change, as it doubled the period of relaxation for women from 12 to 26 weeks, or 6.5 months (indianexpress).

Women working with the government enjoy a 6 month paid maternity leave, which according to Sub-Inspector Savita in Mumbai Police, “women use well with their other leaves, getting them a break of almost an year. They often work till the last day of their pregnancy, so that they may have maximum time with their kids.”

Also read: UK offers ‘period leave’, should India push for ‘menstrual leave?

First an increase in maternity benefits, and now this incentive to encourage women’s higher education. This agenda of the government is something we would definitely give our thumbs up to!

Feature Image credit:phys.org