In this episode of Behind The Label, garment worker Latha speaks on a critical concern in an industry where most workers are women – Maternity Benefits.
Originally from Hiriyur, Latha shifted to Bengaluru for work, and as her education has been limited, she chose to work in the Garments Industry. “I didn’t know what work to do so I was okay with anything. I was selected as a helper but later I decided to earn more money by learning to tailor.” Today, she has accumulated six years of experience in tailoring.
When pregnant with her first child, she had taken three months off work as maternity benefit. She had also received Rs. 14,000 from the ESI provision. “But after these three months, leaving the baby at daycare or with anyone else was difficult. There was no facility to frequently go and feed the baby at or from work either. I was considering quiting the job, but even that was not possible for me.”
Once the three months of maternity leave were up, the workers couldn’t hope for much rest at work; they were supposed to work like anyone else. “But now, the maternity benefits have been extended to six months and that is so helpful for the mother and the baby; a bond can be built with the child and they can be fed regularly. At work, too, they are allowed to feed twice a day, they get 10 minute-long breaks, and are allowed to do only what work is possible by them.”
Latha also talks about her friends receiving benefits worth Rs. 6,000 close to childbirth, and food from Anganwadis through the Mother Card. “I couldn’t avail these benefits, unfortunately, as I didn’t know how to get them when I was pregnant.”
𝗠𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱𝗰𝗮𝘀𝘁? 𝗖𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵 𝘂𝗽!