MATERNITY LEGISLATIONS : A COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN INDIA AND USA
The changing status quo at the labour front, which envisages a world with continuous improvement and modernization in all spheres, vouches for participation of men and women alike. Thus, necessitated attention is to be given to the workforce involvement of the ‘fairer gender’ and ensure that the conditions and policies governing women employment are just and humane. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has set norms that segments the aspects that need to be considered while making policies and statements that serve as framework to ensure workforce-friendly policies and provide due considerations in maintaining the basic standards of life for the women workers. Most industrial and developing countries abide by the norms- except for the highly industrialized nations as Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Maternity relief is not only a basic right of any women, but also “an element of health and economic protection”. This study seeks to review and compare the maternity provisions as practiced by USA and India. As per the ILO Reports,in the United States 55 per cent of working women comprise the main earners with respect to their family earnings. In India alone, an approximate of 60 million people live in households maintained only by women. The Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183) of ILO provides for 14 weeks of maternity benefit. It provides for monetary benefit of the expecting mother that is not less than two third of her drawn wages. In USA, the provision of maternity falls under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 1993 (FMLA), only employers covered by the act provides for unpaid but job-protected leave up to 12 weeks per year to their female employees. In India, as per the Amendment 2017, The Maternity Benefit Act, requires the employers to mandate 26 weeks long paid maternity benefit to the women employee. If the employers do not provide for pre and post-natal care, then the employee is eligible for monetary relief. Hence, the legislatures governing maternity relief are viewed considering the current situation of the countries being studied.