The well-intentioned amendment entitles working women to a 26-week paid leave, up from the earlier 12 weeks, something that progressive companies were already offering. With India’s women workforce participation rate dwindling from about 37% in 2005 to 27% in 2013, the Act is aimed at bringing women back into employment to boost the country’s income. However, for some of the companies, cost implication is now turning out to be greater than the intention of pursuing an inclusive policy.
In the midst of several divergent voices on the Act, a study by TeamLease presents stark statistics that provide a rather grim view of women’s hiring in the short term after the Act. While in the long term, women’s workforce participation rate may get a fillip, the TeamLease report shared exclusively with TOI has estimated a net job loss of 11-18 lakh women workers at the rate of 28 lakh per year for seven years from 2004-05 to 2011-12. The net job loss (11-18 lakh for 10 sectors for FY19) over and above this number is attributable solely to the Amended Maternity Act.”
Chakraborty said if the job loss, attributable to the Amended Maternity Act, is estimated for all the sectors in the country, the number would go up substantially to an estimated 1-1.2 crore. “Our mission at TeamLease is to put India to work. The endeavour is unfulfilled if half the population of India is is at a disadvantage in the talent market,” she said.
In FY17, the net job creation for women was 60 lakh. However, in FY18, there was a net job loss of 50 lakh (out of this 24 lakhs women exited the workforce between January 2017 and April 2017), which is an exception and attributable to demonetisation, according to the report, which relied on CMIE data. A comparison, thus, cannot be drawn between the job loss numbers estimated for 2018-19 and the numbers computed for 2017-18.
Source: Times of India