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In a capitalist society, economic factors are the underlying basis and governing force for all decision making. Unfortunately, even in a welfare state like India, the state fails to provide equality of opportunity to its citizens. And the fact that the vulnerable section of society is most disadvantaged in this matrix further makes it essential to legislate in favor of the vulnerable section to secure their rights from being impeached.
Women, since the beginning of time, have been a part of this vulnerable section since they have been allotted an unfair & disproportionate burden of work as compared to their male counterparts. History bears testimony to the fact, that women have performed unpaid labor since countless years. In households, the work balance is completely lopsided and is reflective of the deep-seated patriarchy embedded in our society. However, it is most unfortunate that our work spaces also imbibe the same culture of misogyny.
Despite the progress we have made in establishing an equal society, there remains a lot more to be done. Since, economic factors are the governing force for empowerment, therefore, any legislation that aims at providing equality of opportunity to women must address the imbalance of power and hindrances to progress of women at workplace from where they make a leap at achieving financial independence. In light of above, the maternity benefit act has the potential to be a game-changer in providing an egalitarian environment at work to the working females who choose to have a child.
This paper aims to make a comparative study of the laws on maternity benefits as they operate in various countries of the world with the legislation in India. To that end, a thorough examination has been done of secondary data with other resources available on the subject to enable the study and come to the right conclusions.