Woman Employee Denied Maternity Benefits: JNU Administration and Service Provider Pass Blame

The AIGKU- JNU, affiliated with the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), has taken a firm stand to uphold women's rights and ensure justice for the aggrieved employee.
The workers staged a protest last month at the office of Assistant Labour Commissioner and presented a detailed complaint outlining several pressing issues.
The workers staged a protest last month at the office of Assistant Labour Commissioner and presented a detailed complaint outlining several pressing issues.(File Pic)

New Delhi- In a blatant violation of the Maternity Benefit Act, a woman contractual employee at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has been embroiled in a year-long battle to receive her entitled benefits. Despite timely intimation to both JNU, the principal employer, and the service provider, Bedi and Bedi Associates, the woman has been denied her rightful dues since November 2022.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 2017, mandates 26 weeks of paid leave for all working women across the country. Section 5 of the Act stipulates that maternity benefits preceding the expected delivery date must be paid in advance by the employer, with subsequent payments to be made within forty-eight hours of childbirth.

However, the case at JNU exposes the disregard for this legal obligation. Despite repeated attempts by the Union of Contractual Workers of JNU and the All India General Kamgar Union (AIGKU) JNU, the woman's maternity benefits remain unpaid.

Both JNU and Bedi and Bedi Associates have been engaged in a blame game, shifting responsibility and refusing to acknowledge their duty to pay the woman her rightful entitlements.

The AIGKU- JNU, affiliated with the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), has taken a firm stand to uphold women's rights and ensure justice for the aggrieved employee. They have approached the Office of the Labour Commissioner to intervene and compel JNU and Bedi and Bedi Associates to fulfill their legal obligations.

" The refusal to honour maternity benefits not only violates the law but also contradicts the inclusive culture championed by JNU. Despite public statements by Shantishree Dhulipudi Pandit, the first woman Vice-Chancellor of JNU, promoting inclusivity, the administration under her leadership has failed to safeguard the basic rights of women employees", Sucheta De, Secretary, AIGKU, JNU said in a press statement.

Suryaprakash, Secretary, AICCTU Delhi added, " JNU and Bedi and Bedi Associates must be held accountable not only in the court of law but also in the court of public opinion. The denial of maternity benefits is not just a legal issue but a matter of fundamental human rights and gender equality".

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