The government on Tuesday issued an advisory to all state governments and UTs to encourage work-from-home for nursing mothers to protect them under a devastating Covid-19 wave ongoing in India.
The relaxation will be made under the enabling provision for permitting work from home for nursing mothers under the 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.
The Ministry of Labour & Employment said the move was made keeping in view the vulnerability of nursing mothers and their babies during the Covid pandemic and to save them from getting infected by the coronavirus.
The State Governments and UTs have been requested that steps may be taken to create awareness about section 5(5) of the Act amongst the women workforce and the employers, the government said.
The State Governments and UTs have been further requested that advisories may be issued to the employers for allowing more and more nursing mothers to work from home as per section 5(5) of the Act wherever nature of work so allows. It has been conveyed that employers may be advised to allow work-from-home, wherever nature of work so allows, for nursing mothers at least for a period of one year from the date of birth of the child, the government said in a press release.
In addition to protecting the nursing mothers during Covid, giving the flexibility to work-from-home wherever nature of work allows to do so, this step will enable nursing mothers to continue to remain in employment, the release said, adding that the implementation of this provision shall act as an enabling tool in enhancement of participation of women in labour force.