Monday, July 27, 2009

Maternity leave for adoption

This one could possibly open a new debate on adoption and maternity benefits.

I call upon the archaic law of maternity benefits dated 1961 to explain to the citizens of this country why parenthood was singled out as a status achieved through conception alone??

Thank you prime minister for breaking the shackles of ignorance that befooled law makers for so long and reinventing the law to include adoption.

Flashback 1961 - the provisions for maternity act read, and I quote;


· Every woman employee, whether employed directly or through a contractor, who has actually worked in the establishment for a period of at least 80 days during the 12 months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery, is entitled to receive maternity benefit.

· The qualifying period of 80 days shall not apply to a woman who has immigrated into the State of Assam and was pregnant at the time of immigration.

· For calculating the number of days on which a woman has actually worked during the preceding 12 months, the days on which she has been laid off or was on holidays with wages shall also be counted.

· There is neither a wage ceiling for coverage under the Act nor there is any restriction as regards the type of work a woman is engaged in.

The term pregnancy is central to the idea of maternity as is self revealing. I am sure even then the word mother meant the same as today in the English dictionary (I was born slightly later than 1961 !!). Mother means the same to a CHILD and maternity means the same to a mother - adopted or otherwise. I am sure that the law makers then could not conceive maternity sans conception.

Choosing not to wail over spilt milk I would like to move on from here. These are good times. These are changing times. This is the new century where no longer will corporate India show governance the path ahead. The polity has chosen to speak and rebuild its laws dusting off the archaic jurisprudence of the bygone era. This is also the time when corporate India chooses to do its bit in governance (Thank you Nadan Nilenkani). This is the moment where I call upon all active HR professionals worth their salt to rise to the occasion and revisit their provisions. Make a start. Implement maternity benefits for adopting couples (IT industry folks - you got employees to use laptops. Research proves laptops to be a source of impotency. You owe your employees an explanation. Start by giving an option).

Moving on I also wish to call for all HR professionals engaged in archaic compliances to revisit rules book and think positively. Lets form a forum where we can support the government to make amends for lapses caused int he past. This is the time to do it. The moment of truth has truly arrived.

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