Maternity Leave Incentive Scheme – Clarification by Ministry of Labour & Employment

Maternity Leave Incentive Scheme
– Clarification by Ministry of Labour & Employment
Ministry of Labour & Employment
Clarification regarding Maternity Leave Incentive Scheme 
Posted On: 16 NOV 2018 7:01PM by PIB Delhi

In a section of media, there have been some reports about Maternity Leave
Incentive Scheme. In this regard, the Ministry of Labour & Employment
has clarified the following:-


  • (i) The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 applies to establishments
    employing 10 or more than 10 persons in Factories, Mines, Plantation, Shops
    & Establishments and other entities. The main purpose of this Act is to
    regulate the employment of women in certain establishments for certain
    period before and after child birth and to provide maternity benefit and
    certain other benefits. The Act was amended through the Maternity Benefit
    (Amendment) Act, 2017 which, inter alia, has increased the paid maternity
    leave to women employees from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. 
  •  (ii) While the implementation of the provision is good in Public Sector,
    there are reports that it is not good in Private Sector and in contract jobs. There is also a wide
    perception that private entities are not encouraging women employees because if they are employed, they may have
    to provide maternity benefit to them, particularly 26 weeks of paid holiday. In
    addition, the Ministry of Labour Employment is also getting complaints from various quarters that when the
    employers come to know that their women employee is in the family way or applies for
    maternity leave, the contracts are terminated on some flimsy grounds. There have been several
    representations before the Labour Ministry on how the extended maternity leave has become a deterrent for
    female employees who are asked to quit or retrenched on flimsy grounds before they go on
    maternity leave. 
  • (iii) Therefore, the Ministry of Labour & Employment is working on an
    incentive scheme wherein 7 weeks’ wages would be reimbursed to employers who employ women workers with
    wage ceiling upto Rs. 15000/- and provide the maternity benefit of 26 weeks paid leave,
    subject to certain conditions. It is estimated that approximately an amount of Rs. 400 crores
    would be the financial implication for Government of India, Ministry of Labour & Employment
    for implementing the proposed incentive scheme.
Major Impact: 
The proposed Scheme, if approved and implemented shall ensure
the women in this country an equal access to employment and other approved benefits alongwith
adequate safety and secure environment. Also, the women shall continue to bear the major share
of household work as well as child care. The work places will be more and more responsive to the
family needs of the working women.
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Current Stage of the Proposal: 
There are some media reports that this Scheme has been approved/notified.
However, it is clarified that Ministry of Labour & Employment is in the process of obtaining
necessary budgetary grant and approvals of Competent Authorities. The reports that it will be funded
from Labour Welfare Cess, is also incorrect, as no such cess exists under this Ministry. 

Source: PIB