Last year, India amended its Maternity Benefit Act. While it was praised in “making India proud around the world” and “bringing women in workforce closer to workplace equality” as the amendment increased the paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, negative consequences also surfaced. With employers being held liable for the entire cost of funding the maternity leave to employees, over a quarter of the small and medium enterprises and startups in a survey indicated that they preferred to hire male employees, rendering the amendment more damaging than helpful for female employees. Several solutions were proposed to remedy this situation and make the Maternity Benfit Act more appealing to the employers: 1) provision of tax: employers provide job-protected leave while the wage replacement is funded through an employee payroll tax; and 2) gender-neutral paid leave: the 26-week leave is split equally between the dad and mom so that no employer bears the entire burden of having its employee leave for six months.

What does maternity leave look like around the world? Read about it here and its benefits here.

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