In the ancient time, the employer thought that maternity was a state of disability for woman workers from doing any work during the few weeks immediately before and after child birth.
The employer tended that this period is wastage of both time and money, so simply they terminated the services of woman workers when they inferred any maternity situation. They didn't provide any type of wages or benefits to their woman workers. Therefore, many woman workers had to go on leave without any payment of their salary during this period in case if they didn't want to lose their job. Many others had to bear a heavy depression to keep their efficiency during the periods of pregnancy, which was very harmful to the health of both, the child and the mother.
To remove this concept of the woman workers, the concept of maternity benefit came about. It aims to regulate employment of women employees in certain establishments for certain periods before and after childbirth in order to enable the woman workers to carry on the social function of child; bearing and rearing without undue strain on their health and loss of wages.
Maternity benefit is one that every woman must be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity benefit, which is the amount payable to her at the rate of the average daily wage for the period of her actual absence..
WHAT IS MATERNITY BENEFIT?
Maternity leave is a paid leave that an employee is entitled to, in order to care for their newborn or recently adopted child. The period of such leave varies in different countries, and generally includes both a legally enforceable maternity leave and maternity pay. Some employees have employment contracts that are more generous.
Maternity leave and pay were primarily designed to:
protect the health of mothers and children by providing adequate medical and nursing care in childbirth,
to lessen the financial burden of childbearing and
ensure a reasonable period free from excessive labour
They vary from systems which consist primarily of paid time off work to those which include medical, nursing and in some cases, help with domestic labor.
WHY THERE IS NEED FOR MATERNITY BENEFITS?
In the present scenario women workers form a major chunk of labor market which in turn in dominated by the young women in urban areas . And it is known fact that Post- maternity, women work participation rate is negatively affected in labor market. Since India is committed to creating a gender friendly labour market environment, there is increasing realization to provide a conducive working environment.
Looking at the large number of women employment in broad occupational categories, it was but natural to provide some conditions which are suitable for the needs of women & protect and safeguard their health in relation to Maternity and the children.
The fundamental purpose for providing maternity benefits is to preserve the self-respect for motherliness, protect the health of women, complete safety of the child etc.
The objective of maternity benefits is to protect the dignity of "Motherhood" by providing the complete & health care to the women & her child when she is not able to perform her duty due to her health condition. There is need for maternity benefits so that a woman is to be able to give quality time to her child without having to worry about whether she will lose her job and her source of income.
The vast majority of women want to have children at some time in their lives. Childbearing is biological role which is to be performed by women and hence it shouldn't be made an impediment in their economic growth. They have taken enormous strides toward gender equity at work, but to tackle the traditional gender ideologies , sex-typed stereotypes, roles, and status beliefs they need provisions like maternity benefits to be able to continue in the business .
International recognition for maternity benefit was achieved by the efforts of the International Labour Organization ("ILO"). It was during the first International Labour Conference (ILC) in 1919 that the first Convention on Maternity protection, Convention concerning the Employment of Women before and after Childbirth, 1919 was adopted. It provided that
" no woman