In what is likely to have a far-reaching impact among the female electorate ahead of the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the government is reportedly considering to waive off taxes on salaries availed during the period of maternity leaves. The announcement could be made along with the roll-out of interim Budget 2019, reports said on Monday.
In November, the Labour Ministry had indicated a proposal to incentivise the employers who have to mandatorily grant maternity leaves to their women staff.
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya had said that the government is working on an incentive scheme wherein seven weeks’ wages would be reimbursed to employers who employ women workers with a wage ceiling of up to Rs 15,000 and provide the maternity benefit of 26 weeks paid leave, subject to certain conditions.
The ministry had estimated that about Rs 400 crore would be the financial implication for the Ministry of Labour and Employment to implement the proposed incentive scheme.
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 childbirth 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.