States told to encourage employers to allow nursing mothers to work from home

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The Maternity Act provides for 26-week paid maternity leave. (Photo source: Reuters)

The Centre has issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories to encourage employers to allow nursing mothers to work from home at least for a period of one year from the date of birth of the child in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the context of prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, the nursing mothers are a highly vulnerable lot and the need to protect this segment of the population from getting infected by the corona virus cannot be overemphasized. Allowing nursing mothers to work from home can contribute to protecting them and their babies from getting infected,” the labour ministry said in the advisory sent Tuesday.

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The advisory has been sent keeping in view the vulnerability of nursing mothers and their babies during the Covid pandemic and to save them from getting infected by the corona virus, a statement from the ministry of labour and employment said.

Section 5(5) of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017(the Act) provides that where the nature of work assigned to a woman is of such nature that she may work from home, the employer may allow her to do so after availing of the maternity benefit for such period and on such conditions as the employer and the woman may mutually agree.

“Apart from Covid, giving the flexibility to work from home wherever the nature of work allows to do so, shall enable nursing mother to continue to remain in employment. Thus, implementation of this provision shall act as an enabling toll in enhancement of participation of women in labour force. This shall also contribute to creating a happy workforce,” the ministry said in the advisory.

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The Maternity Act provides for 26-week paid maternity leave.

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