Millennium Post

Shame companies not implementing maternity law: New CII chief

Companies not implementing the provisions of the new maternity law in letter and spirit should be "shamed", said CII's first woman president Shobana Kamineni, while exhorting menfolk to champion women's cause.

Kamineni, who is also Executive Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals Enterprises, is keen to bring women at par with men in terms of salary, wages and other benefits.

In an interview to PTI, the new CII chief also made a strong case for good and affordable healthcare for all in the country.

On apprehensions that the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, which among other things provides for 26 weeks paid leave (up from earlier 12 weeks) and creche facilities at work places may deter companies to hire women, Kamineni admitted that it will create tension but it had to be done.

"It (provisions in the maternity law) will create tension in the system. But, I think what we have to realise is that it is something needs to be done in terms of parity. "It should be a law, actually I feel, men should champion more than women because those are mothers and sisters," she said.

Kamineni said industry should also explore the possibility of work from home system for women as they don't want to sit idle at home.

"So, let them shame the companies that don't do it (implement maternity law). Let the government shame the companies that don't do it,"
she said.

As regards the CII, India's leading industry chamber, she said "we will certainly put it in our code of conduct".

She added that while CII, founded in 1895, cannot enforce anything on its members, but we can follow it and encourage it but not "of course we can persuade companies".

The CII president further said India is not exception in the world for providing maternity benefits to women.

"Many countries have done much more. So, I think it's something that we should champion and feel proud that country did it," she said.
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