Why Maternity Break is Unpleasant for some Employers?

After a long refreshing, Maternity Break, I have come up with a big bang story collection.

As I was on a blissful break, let me start with a relating short story about a girl staying lane next to my house, who got married couple of years ago, was soon expected to be a happy mom after few months. Here comes the turning Point of her Career, making a “loud tyre-tearing ear-splitting break” which was un-expected and was not supposed to happen this way.

Meera, a well-educated working professional finally decided to settle with her Mr. Right for the rest of her life. No doubt, it was beyond her expectation that Mr. Right was not only her right choice but he was more of her like. He was more mature, practical and literally mastered in Emotional Quotient where he had firm grip on his emotions and never failed in taking unbiased decision even in agony.

They were having very good time together when on a beautiful morning Meera revealed her gestation to him. All well and all set so far. Now comes the real challenge! Her career started losing control of her growth not because she was expecting her baby but because her employer started developing hatred for her during Meera’s gestation.

The “XYZ” company had appointed Meera at a dignified post after several rounds of successful interviews much before she got to know about her pregnancy. She was tirelessly working hard to prove to be a good team leader by implementing core values of a good coach towards her team members. Many incomplete tasks started turning good. Many annoyed and unsatisfied clients gave the Company a second thought of restarting with new assignments with her efforts. In short, all loopholes with internal and external stakeholders were getting flawlessly plastered.

Before I continue, I would like to mention that Indian Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, in a given scenario, allows any pregnant woman to not to reveal her pregnancy till ninth month to the employer. She still stays entitled for the maternity benefit. There has to be a minimum association of 80 days with the associated company.  

The major roles and responsibilities what Meera was playing at her office, made her take a firm and wise decision of informing her employer about her pregnancy in the very beginning; keeping two factors in mind: First, the much un-organized now streamlined associates should not get scattered again and secondly, in her absence, i.e., during her 3 month maternity break, she can handover certain tasks to immediate subordinate by still keeping decision making aspect in her hands.

But!! things were not accepted as was supposed to be by her employer and they made her 7th & 8th month much painful and forced Meera get into a beleaguered situation.

Let us get into the flashback to re-connect to her present situation!

At her joining, one of the clauses in her Service Agreement mentioned that Meera is not entitled for long breaks for 18 months. It also said, during that time if Meera decides to resign she will have to pay 3 month salary to her employer plus will have to serve 2 month notice (which was less likely to happen given the fact they will already take her 3 month salary!). Please note, the Service Agreement had no provision of Maternity Benefit. Moreover, at the time of her joining Meera was told that coming Financial Year the same will be implemented.

Keeping this clause in mind, Meera approached her employer and revealed her pregnancy and also mentioned her trust on Company’s decision which could be mutually benefitted. Her employer’s opening reaction was – “What!!?!! (with a frozen face as if any bad news was communicated)”. Meera’s association had emotionally ended then and there seeing that pale reaction. Still she continued working with a fear of losing money as per the terms and conditions.

After a wait of 3 further months, one morning her employers invited her over a personal discussion. The distressed officials gave her two options:

1)     To either end the association with the company where service agreement will be nullified, OR,

2)     To continue being an employee on 3 -4 months Maternity Leave without pay with a condition to learn some required skills on mandatory basis which will be further classified into her roles.

In any condition, they never wanted to talk about her Maternity Benefit!

She obviously chose the second option which was safe for her employment with a request to allow her to learn required skills post she resumes office. Practically it would be difficult to manage the new born along with a certification course in her first 3 month maternity break. She again requested to discuss on the maternity benefit which can be mutually discussed and simplified.

All her requests were denied and she was forced to leave the organization with much humiliation and metal harassment by her employer.

Meera was given the termination letter without any notice in her 8th month of pregnancy with a condition to sign the No Dues certificate with the employer.

By this time, Meera had skilled herself into a warrior with only difference of fighting with Shastra and not Astra.

She took her letters given by the company and fearlessly denied signing the No Dues Letter. Her employers got more frightened than getting furious, and out of fear, sent her a WARNING LETTER through registered post which mentioned to either sign the NO DUES else her association with the employer will be completely erased from their employment list. More over the funniest aspect was a copy was sent to an advocate to put her into fix. Each time they kept on misbehaving and harassing the pregnant employee with their barbaric act even after her termination.

Struggling with these pressures in her 8th month, Meera then decided to stand up and teach those rascals a lesson. She filed a case on them in Labour Court. On each given date, they sent inexperienced HR managers or other equally junior staff to deal with the case. One of the HR executive even had the guts to defame her with an allegation that Meera stole Company Data! While the fact was, at the time of submitting Company properties including Data, Meera already had received confirming message from IT team.

How cruel such people could be? They should actually be thrown out of the society!!! Without any base, such false allegations started springing around to avoid paying Meera her Maternity Benefits.

Meera’s hope became much stronger when she birthed another warrior. She finally got justice in her 5th month postpartum that too when a strict letter from PMO intervened that Labour Officer to close the case without any further delay and not just keep hooking the matter!

After much fight, she finally got her 1-month Maternity Benefit and the remaining last month’s salary which those bunch of idiots had stolen from her. Everything said, Meera was more relieved when the Labour Officer blasted that employer in front of her and showed his actual position!

This is how Meera had an adventurous voyage all through her pregnancy which inspired me to pen the story for you to read and understand such morons do live in this society and the irony is, we have to live with them but now by showing them the actual mirror!

Thank you

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