The protection of pregnant women’s rights is the need of the hour. Most women are not aware of the basic rights they possess during pregnancy. Becoming pregnant is the most joyful and exciting moment of your life. You and our partner may have envisioned a beautiful life with kids. Pregnancy makes changes in your body and also your life. But, many pregnant women face fallback in the protection of their rights. It is due to the fact that many people still have notions pertaining to the medieval era.
Before discussing the shortcoming of the protection of pregnant women’s rights, let’s check the rights. It is important to know the rights you have. It will help you get access to better care and facilities. You can bring your bundle of joy into the world without any complications. So, knowing your basic rights is significant to take the right action.
The Basic Rights Of Pregnant Women In India
Table of Contents
In India, the government offers full support to pregnant women. For the protection of pregnant women’s rights, the government has issued several directives. It aims to make pregnant women feel cherished. If you are pregnant, then you can avail the following
Free Antenatal Checkup
The women need not spend anything to access the pregnancy services. Under the PMSMA (Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan), women can avail the services. So, on the 9th of every month, specialist doctors from the multispecialty hospital visit to the government healthcare facilities. The expectant mothers can receive the special check-up even in their second and third trimesters. Hence, the services include urine tests, blood tests, ultrasound, etc.
Protection Of Pregnant Women’s Rights With Cash Payments
Women coming from a low-income family (BPL) or belong to SC/ST category can get a cash payment. It is offered after women deliver their babies in government or private hospitals.
Free Transport Service
Pregnant women over the world can get free transport service to hospital and back. They can also get the free meal when admitted to the hospital.
Benefits Till Child Turns One Year Old
Do you know that you can extend the benefits until your child is one year old? You can also access free treatments for your baby, get medicines for free, and charge-free diagnostics.
Cash Payment For Regular Checkups
You are entitled to receive payments for the regular checkups. In some Indian districts, you can get 6,000 INR for the regular antenatal checkups. The government is planning to extend the service across the whole country.
Protection Of Pregnant Women’s Rights Who Are Employed
Getting pregnant is a joyous feeling. But, it is not a joke for women in India. Many women juggle the homework and office work simultaneously. Indian society is progressing along with its western counterparts. So, you can hear about pregnant women’s rights. Many corporate companies offer protection of pregnant women’s rights. It is done by acknowledging the woman’s right in the workplace by providing the maternity benefits. India has the maternity benefits act that offers special rights to women. To acknowledge the changing times, the Indian parliament has passed an amendment of the Maternity Benefits Act by offering more paid leave. Are you aware of the new law that aims at the protection of pregnant women’s rights? If no, then read ahead.
You can avail up to twenty-six weeks of paid leave. Out of the total twenty-six weeks, you can take the eight weeks of leave before the delivery. You can access the rest of the eighteen weeks of the paid leave after you give birth to our child. If you have two kids already, then you still have twelve weeks of the paid maternity leave. So, you can even take it as six weeks before delivery and six after the delivery.
Maternity Leave Benefits
Irrespective of your place of work like a company, shop, or others, you can access the maternity leave benefits. It is applicable for the private and public sector establishment with ten or more employees. So, if you work in one such establishment, you can access the paid leave.
You need to note that you have the protection of pregnant women’s rights at the time of your appointment. So, your employer at the time of your appointment needs to offer you the maternity benefits. You need to get it in writing or by email, which you have to save for proof.
Benefits For Government Employees
Are you working in the government sector? Then, you can access 180 days of paid leave for your first two kids.
- Not just for pregnant women, the government offers 12 weeks off for people who wish to adopt a baby. So, women can get their paid leave from the date of adoption.
- The Maternity Benefits Act also offers you the work at home option after you exhaust the paid leave. So, you can discuss with your employer and decide on it with mutual agreement.
- The new maternity benefit amendment act helps the new mothers. So, it makes it compulsory for any organization with more than fifty employees to have a crèche facility. As a new mother, you can visit your child more frequently.
A miscarriage is a devastating blow to the couple. So, a woman employee can get six weeks off. It is also applicable for medical termination of pregnancy. Hence, the time offered can help you heal mentally and physically.
You are also eligible for a medical bonus of INR 3500 from your organization to meet the medical needs.
Eligibility Of Payments
Your company must pay you the maternity benefits for the days you take off before your delivery. You just need to show your employer the proof of your pregnancy. Your company must clear all the payments within 48 hours of showing the proof.
In Case Of Death
In unfortunate circumstances, if a pregnant woman dies, her nominee gets the benefits. Without a nomination, the legal heir gets the benefits.
The Protection Of Pregnant Women’s Rights To Ensure Health And Safety
Once your information about your pregnancy to your employer, they have to ensure your health and safety. So, with a written intimation about the big news, your employer needs to eliminate the safety risks. It is done by performing a risk assessment that will reveal the health and safety risks you may encounter at work. So, the assessment will reveal the following information:
- Long working hours causing stress and uneasiness to your health
- Standing/sitting in the office for long hours without taking the break
- The possibility of heavy lifting or carrying load
Steps For Protection Of Pregnant Women’s Rights By safeguarding Health
You need to talk to your employer regarding the risks you or your unborn child may face at the workplace. You need to convey the instructions and advice you have obtained from your doctor. So, you need to make clear about the aspect at work that causes you to worry. To ensure your safety, your employer must take the following steps:
- Change the work conditions. It involves removing any risks that can distress you. You need to agree to the changes suggested by your employer. The change in conditions must offer you comfort, avoid stress, and give you the flexibility to work.
- If changing the work conditions is not possible, then your employer must offer different work. It involves switching our department to ensure you feel safe. So, it may involve offering you a desk job rather than the one that involves heavy carrying or exposes you to danger. But, the job must have the same pay and benefits as your previous job. You have the right to decline the employer’s suggestion if it does not suit you.
- Give you the option to work from home. It will help you complete the job until the risks get removed from the workplace. But, the employer must pay you your full salary. So, your employer must pay your salary without cutting the salary or offering you an opportunity to apply for the promotion.
Drawbacks In The Protection Of Pregnant Women’s Rights
Many employers agree to the protection of pregnant women’s rights. But, some employers see the efforts as charity instead of the social responsibility. The corporate sector and the government takes all the steps to ensure your health and well-being. So, it ensures that the woman’s pregnancy does not cause hindrance to the financial independence or the career growth. You can face the unfavorable situation in the form of the following:
- Employer Inflexibility
- Dismissal from your work
- Poor employer practice associated with your health and safety
- Unpleasant workplace treatment
The workplace is mostly supportive of the pregnancy. But, a minority of employers do not support the great progress in the workplace. It does not offer support to a pregnant employee or their needs at the workplace. Many women feel that the relationship with the employers gets strained after announcing their personal happy news. So, an unfortunate number of pregnant women face the following discrimination:
Missing Out Pay Or Promotion
Unfortunately, a minor percentage of pregnant working women have suffered. The employers have rejected the offer to consider them for promotion. Missing out on pay is also not unheard of. The lower pay rises are also possible or salary reduction is possible. So, pregnancy is a curse for some career-oriented women due to the attitude of employers.
Returning To Low Qualification Jobs
Pregnancy has put shackles on the advancement of career women. The unfavorable approach of the employers results in women seeking less qualified jobs. It is most prevalent in sectors that women predominate. Women who have opted to return to part-time work can face many obstacles. Hence, women compromise for low paying jobs. It makes them overqualified even with good skills.
Offering Less Time To Personal Issues
The negative treatment of the employers extends to the women getting less time to take care of kids. The bad attitude of the employers can result in getting an inflexible working pattern. So, it can cause a career break. The mother penalties is a downward trend for an advancing economy.
Not Taking Steps For Risk Removal
You can experience maternity discrimination in the workplace. It involves the not taking steps for risk removal. So, by not performing risk assessment, your employer can put your health in danger. It can cause potential damage to your unborn child too. So, it can cause strain in the professional relationship.
Opting Non-Pregnant Person For Job
Another notable fallback in the protection of pregnant women’s rights is opting for another person for a job. With two people having the same qualifications, credentials, experience, etc., the employer may opt for a non-pregnant person. It shows the bad attitude of the management. Hence, you have to find different work.
Taking to the employer can make some difference. But, in most cases, the discrimination is a hard fact. So, you have to face it. When the issues crop up you can take some steps to avoid it.
How To Avoid Fallback for The Protection Of Pregnant Women’s Right
You need to understand the workplace legal protection before you encounter any complications. It is one of the best ways to avoid the fallback in the protection of pregnant women’s rights. So, you can work safely throughout the pregnancy. Make sure to follow the steps:
You need to check your contract for the maternity rights. It will shed light on our basic workplace rights. So, you can get information about the extra rights too. It will help you get the health care while pregnant.
- You need to inform your employer about the pregnancy in writing.
- Notice how the management treats others.
- If you feel discrimination, then report it in writing.
- Get legal help in case the problem worsens. It is best to take the help from the legal team to overcome the complications.
Notable Cases Of Fallbacks In The Protection Of Pregnant Women’s Rights
Women can face issues in the private as well as professional life. The notable cases in the fallbacks in the protection of pregnant women’s rights are as follows:
- The famous case in Hungary of the expectant mother Anna Ternovsky who has to resort to the court to deliver her second child at home. See the article for complete details.
- The famous and groundbreaking case of Neera Mathur. The case with landmark judgment in 1991 brought to light the fallback for the protection of pregnant women’s rights.
- Unfortunately, the case is not limited to India alone. Around the globe, some landmark cases suggest that the discrimination against pregnant women is present even in developed countries. One such famous case is the court ordering G.E.B. Medical Management to pay more than $6million in damages to its three former employees. The judgment came in the wake of the 2008 complaint by the former employees who claimed harassment and discrimination.
The broad mindset of several corporate establishments and government machinery has helped with the protection of pregnant women’s rights. But, the discrimination is still present in several areas due to the narrow attitude of the employers. You can overcome such practices by knowing the rights and fighting for it. Hence, never keep quiet about the issues and voice your concerns to overcome it.View Article Sources
- Maternity Rights for Working Women and the law in India . https://paycheck.in/labour-law-india/maternity-and-work/maternity-rights-at-work
- India’s New Maternity Benefit Laws Take Effect – Employment and HR . http://www.mondaq.com/india/x/584130/Employee+Benefits+Compensation/
- Society Penalised for pregnancy – The Hindu . https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/penalised-for-pregnancy/article4873867.ece