Mumbai, Mar 10 Lauding the amendments to the law on maternity benefits, market experts today said this will lead to better gender diversity and encourage more women to continue in the workforce and have fulfilling careers.
According to the amendment the paid maternity leave benefit has been extended to six months.
"This will definitely enable better gender diversity that the industry and workplace has been lacking. While women form nearly 50 per cent of the population their participation in formal employment is a mere 10 per cent or less.
"Further, as the hierarchy rises their representation drops," IKYA Human Capital Solutions Business Head, Staffing Solutions, Lohit Bhatia said here.
He said, at senior levels and board levels they form only 1 per cent, owing to the challenges a woman faces during and post maternity.
"With this amendment many of the challenges faced by women can be addressed, in fact, it can help in bringing down the dropout ratio," he added.
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday, months after the Rajya Sabha approved, entitling paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from the earlier 12 weeks.
Kelly Services India Managing Director Thammaiah BN said this is a good initiative by the government and will help increase the gender diversity across the organised sector.
"It will address the issue of employee retention and create a more meaningful, lasting relationship between the employer and the employee. Women will feel more easier to return to work without the conflict of having to make a choice between motherhood and a career," she said.
PayPal Director, Human Resources, Jayanthi Vaidyanathan said this move will encourage more women to have fulfilling careers. (MORE)"Industry reports suggest that 41 per cent of women in
technology companies tend to leave mid-career, most notably around childbearing years. With the bill passed today, we can begin providing women the motivation to reverse this trend," Vaidyanathan said.
Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) Senior Vice-President, Human Resources, Shubhayu Sengupta opined that six months of paid maternity leave could be extremely beneficial for women employees in the organised sector.
"As an inclusive employer with 37 per cent of our India-based workforce being women, HGS is pleased that the law has been passed. The 26 weeks policy will allow them to recuperate completely before returning to work.
"Additionally, the law announced three months of paid maternity leave for adopting mothers – a first of its kind in India. I believe these amended policies will further add to our work culture of inclusiveness," he added.
However, Ascent HR CEO Subramanyam said many small companies cannot afford to offer a 26 week paid leave to their women employees might be keen to hire only men in the future.
"While the intention of this law was to provide an incentive for women to join employment, in the long run this might have a negative impact on the rate of women workforce gaining employment in small and medium companies," he added.
These laws are not something that can be imposed on every business or industry.
"To an SME or a startup with say 20-25 employees, a 26 week of absence is a significant loss as they operate on thin margins. This kind of scenario perpetually kills the enterprise and renders some of the jobs redundant in anticipation, therefore, a businessman must have the leeway of ado