Extend MaternityAct2017 benefits to mothers on maternity leave on or after January 1, 2017
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When my son was born on 11th March 2017, I had no idea that my wife's maternity leave would begin the very next day, days before we would bring him home.
Born too soon, the reality of life in neonatal care is very different from what a mother would usually expect from the early days of maternity leave. Lines, monitors, life support machines and recovery from what is often a traumatic birth. Mothers wait days, if not weeks to hold their babies for the first time and face the agonising journey home without their baby each day. It broke my heart leaving my tiny baby every day as he spent the first week of my wife maternity leave in hospital.
As we were recovering from post hospitalisation trauma hoping the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill will bring some respite to hardship by allowing 6 months leave for working women. It came as a shock that the amended law is not applicable retrospectively. The benefit of the act can be availed by women who proceeded on maternity leave on or after March 28, 2017. Apparently my baby lost race even before he is aware, he was not aware of the date March 28th 2017. Why should my 20 days old be denied from this extended care just because he was born just 18 days earlier?
Extending maternity leave for such mothers would give mothers the emotional support needed at a time of great stress and trauma - in turn leading to better postnatal health, a more positive return to work and better outcomes for babies development.
We call on PM Narender Modi ji and Government ministers to recognise the need of such mothers and therefore extending the maternity benefits for mothers who proceeded on maternity leave on or after January 1, 2017
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