ANKITA VERMA*, RAKESH SHUKLA AND Y. S. NEGI
Faculty of Management Sciences and Liberal Arts, Shoolini University, Bajhol-173 229 (Himachal Pradesh),
*(e-mail : email@example.com; Mobile : 7018457588)
(Received : November 1, 2019; Accepted : January 14, 2020)
The Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 (latest amendment in 2017) is one of the welfare programmes for the working women in India. The present study analyzed the level of awareness, extent of implementation of the Act, and difficulties faced by working women in availing benefits of the Act; both before and after the maternity leave. The study was based on the survey of 112 working women, both contractual and regular, of public and private educational institutions in the western Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Only those women, who had taken maternity leave and rejoined after maternity leave, formed the sample. The results of the study revealed that there was lack of awareness among working women and they often confused the maternity Act with maternity schemes. It came out that, in general, women were not very vocal about the malpractices of employers in providing stipulated benefits; as they feared job loss. Women working in private sector faced mental stress and also the criticism from co-workers if they availed full leave benefits. It was suggested that government needs to educate women regarding the Maternity Benefits Act by running awareness campaigns. Employers should also take it as their moral duty to grant due benefits to working women and educate them about the same.
Key words : Maternity Benefits Act 1961, 2017, paid maternity leave, crèche facility, female work force,
organized and un-organized sector.