It’s been a year since the government has introduced the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, which enabled women to stay in the workforce even after childbirth, may make it hard for up to 18 lakh women to find jobs this financial year, says a report.
According to staffing company TeamLease Services' latest report - The impact of maternity benefits on business and employment - Indian women’s workforce participation rate slumped by almost 10 percent from 36.9 percent to 26.96 percent – between 2005 and 2013.
Ever since this vital statistic has stayed flat and is even showing signs of dipping further, India’s ranking on the Global Gender Gap Index also fell from 87 in 2016 to 108 in 2017.
Further, the act which mandated the companies to increase the maternity leave for working women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks to retain the women talent can have negative implications on women hiring by India Inc, says report.
The act might help in the long run, but there is likely to be fewer takers for women in the workplace in the short-term.
The net effects of the amendment are likely to be negative with a potential job loss of 11 lakh to 18 lakh for women during 2017-18, which is around 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent of the women workforce across sectors, the report said.
The increase in the maternity leave has cost implications, which may subdue the intention of following an inclusive policy.
The study was conducted among 300 employers across ten key sectors — aviation, business process outsourcing (BPO), information technology enabled service (ITeS), real estate, education, e-commerce, BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), information technology, manufacturing, retail and tourism.
Large, professionally managed companies (both private and public sector) and medium-sized public sector companies will actively back the amendment and are likely to hire more women.
While closely held and family-owned companies are expected to either maintain status-quo or reduce demand for female talent.
SMEs and startups are likely to reduce demand for female talent.
The manufacturing sector will have the maximum impact on women hiring during 2018-19, followed by retail and real estate industry.
However, sectors such as education, BPO, ITES, information technology and BFSI may remain positive in hiring women workforce.
Whereas, sectors such as manufacturing, retail and real estate will be worst effected.
First Published: IST