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Women scribes'' body decries denial of maternity leave to journalist

Women scribes” body decries denial of maternity leave to journalist

Guwahati, May 22 (PT The Network of Women in Media,
India (NWMI) Friday condemned the reported denial of maternity
leave to a Guwahati-based journalist and the manner in which
she was forced to resign from her position in local news
channel.

The Network demanded that the National Commission for
Women and the Assam State Commission for Women to take suo
moto cognisance of the issue.

The Maternity Benefit [Amendment] Act, 2017 provides
for paid maternity leave for women for 12 weeks in addition to
paid leave and extension of leave without pay or work from
home facilities.

Demanding immediate reinstatement of the woman scribe,
the NWMI asserted it is a gross violation of her rights that
she was forced to resign by the highest authority of the news
channel on the ground that the organisation had no provision
of maternity leave for its employees.

“This incident is particularly distressing at a time
when media houses across the country are effecting job losses,
wage cuts and forced leave without pay during an unprecedented
lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These unethical and patently illegal actions have
jeopardised journalists” careers everyewhere, the Network said
in a statement.

It quoted the woman scribe as claiming that the news
channel”s CMD had told her that the organisation has “no
facilities for maternity leave and no salary will be paid” and
then directed her to submit her resignation letter.

The NWMI in its states said it “deplores the manner
in which a media organisation, the primary duty and
responsibility of which is to uphold the principles and values
of a democratic and just society, respect for the rule of law
and the rights of individuals and institutions, has failed to
provide a basic right to its employees that they are entitled
to under the law of the land.”

Expressing shock at the “disregard” for the law by the
news channel, its contention that the organisation has no
provision for paid leave or any other facility for maternity
leave, the NWMI said “It is patently illegal and
indefensible”.

Every establishment in the country is governed by the
Maternity Benefits Act and the news channel is not above the
law of the land.

The statement further said: “NWMI strongly condemns
doscrimination against women scribes over pregnancy and
motherhood.

Such attitudes and policies only serve to create a
hostile environment at the work place, it said and demanded
that the private TV channel allow the woman journalist to
withdraw her resignation letter, resume her duties with
immediate effect and subsequently avail the maternity leave to
which she is legally entitled for the required period at the
appropriate time. PTI ESB
KK KK

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