Maternity leave for working mother, justified or not?
Women workers play duel role at a time, as mother and employee. Only law enforcement can help them to keep them on job when they are pregnant. Still many companies hiring women employee ask them openly about their marital and future family planning status as they cannot afford the maternity leaves and flexibility perks. "The Bangladesh labor Act, 2006" includes benefits for working a mother, only if she has six months working experience. Working women in Bangladesh hesitates to take babies out of the feeling of job insecurity.
"The Bangladesh labor act, 2006" includes women benefit in its rule no.45-50 extracting from 'the Bengal maternity benefit act 1939", "The mines maternity benefit act, 1941" and "The maternity benefit (tea state) act 1950". Linking birth control programme of over populated Bangladesh suggested 'one child is good, say no if have two'. "The Bangladesh labor Act, 2006" has avoided maternity benefit after birth of two child, and working mother will not be allowed maternity benefit for the third child.
Furthermore, employees are prohibited to discharge, dismiss and terminate any pregnant women before six months of the date of her delivery and the eight weeks after the date of delivery as it permitted by acting law.
The fact is that, the implementation of law is considering for all the people (employer and employee) of a country but suffering varies from person to person especially for employee when law is not properly enforced.
Due to radical unemployment problem, most of the employee joins in a company under contract. A working mother cannot demand for maternity leave if she doesn't get permanent in the job. As long as the working pregnant mother is not permanent, she doesn't have voice over her right to have maternity leave. It is highly specified that the law is only applicable only for the permanent employee. Using these scopes and privilege, company can avoid flexibility perks and women benefit whereas working mother is merely taking the shelter of law.
Again, once a lady resumes office after her maternity break, she may have to begin from the very beginning all over in order to bridge this gap and ease the challenges. To some extent it is observed that many women fails to get the work experience certificate from the previous office which may help her to get the new job.
In Bangladesh, some discrimination is found in maternity leave administration in few sectors. It was seen in the garment sector that most of the women were forced to leave their jobs after the birth of their children and if they hunted to start work again in the same factory they would have to start as new employees. With lower wages and salaries instead of returning to their former position; and some owner provided leave to their employee but did not pay them as per the provision of the law.
However, the 'labor women' have to follow the rule, interestingly there is no specific rule exists for the 'management of women staff.' Furthermore, in the gazette of finance ministry's amending rule 197(1) of part-I of the Bangladesh service rule, it is mentioned the permanent government servant has the right to take six months maternity leave. It shows a great deal of discrimination against women. Most private offices do not grant maternity leave properly even it is one third than public sector, sometimes 16 weeks only.
On the other hand, Bangladesh bank circulated a notice to all the banks and financial institutes to allow six month maternity leave for women employee but the shocking result is, other than the state-owned banks, most of the bank do not show any respect to the order.
Private school, college, university grant four month leaves and benefit, many organizations grant additional two month leave without salary which do not follow proper system. Without these, other commercial establishments grant three months maternity benefits only.
Summarizing all of those, it could be inferred that a working mother either labor or staff; either public service holder or private has got the same experiences of motherhood, same sufferings to child management and it clears the cost of that time obviously higher than normal time period. So, working mother must give maternity leave and benefits as well.
Corporate firms, bank, financial institute, public, autonomous organization should have now included flexibility policies for woman who resumes their career in post maternity break.
The writer is a freelance contributor