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E-ISSN : 2249 - 4642 | P-ISSN: 2454 - 4671
IMPACT FACTOR: 8.561
MATERNITY BENEFIT IN INDIA: THE ROAD TAKEN SINCE 1929
Ms. R.M. Deva Soorya, Dr. S.V.Srinivasa Vallabhan
Volume: 6 Issue: 4 2016
Providing Maternity Benefits for working women is the result of societal recognition of women’s participation in the labour market. Legislations to extend such benefits are being considered as very important welfare measure for women. In India, there has been remarkable developments in the field since 1929, after some prior hesitations. With the 2016 amendments recently approved by the Rajya sabha, to the Maternity Benefit Act 1961, the country has joined a very short list of elite countries that have provided for higher maternity leave periods/benefits than the ILO standard in this regard. Judiciary in India has played a very helpful role through positive and beneficial interpretations of the central Maternity Benefit Act 1961.Through several pro-women pronouncements, higher courts in India have greatly clarified and amplified the scope and provisions of the Act. The Indian jurisprudence evolved over the years on maternity benefits for women has been consistent to promote women welfare upholding the spirit of the constitution emanating from its Part III Fundamental Rights and Part IV Directive Principles of State Policy. In the recent context of Government of India deciding to enhance the maternal benefit leave for 24 weeks and Tamil Nadu Government extending the maternity leave period for 9 months for women in State Government employment, this contribution revisits the legislative and jurisprudential developments thus far with the view to provide fresh enlightenment.
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