Social Security of Women in the form Maternity Benefits: A Human Rights Perspective

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Priyanka Arora Puri, Dr. Showkat Ahmad Wani


After Industrialization an “Employee” was considered as a mere factor of production both in organized and unorganized sector. Social Security of the workman who contributed mentally and physically in the production was not given importance legally as well as socially. History witnessed the fact that employees demanded only just and humane conditions of work and the social and economic protection in the times of sickness, old age, death, retirement, unemployment, pregnancy and similar conditions. Thus, Social Security lateris recognised as a Human Right and every employee is entitled to it’s realisation through national effort and international cooperation.

Labour, all over the country play a vital role as it is considered an important source of production, creation both in private and public sectors. So their protection against risks and contingencies at workplace is utmost important. Due to urbanisation and industrialisation, the rights of the working class were exploited. Thus, social security based on social justice, social equity and human dignity was in demand to protect their interest. The right of the workers to social security is also protected by the Indian Constitution and other Labour Legislations.

Legislation, therefore becomes an instrument of social and economic justice to secure it.The Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 is especially designed to protect the interest of female workers and to provide them security at the time of pregnancy and delivery[1].Social Security is subject of Concurrent List so the central government constituted enactments and the State government bears the responsibility of their effective enforcement.

India, being a welfare state, has taken upon it’s shoulders the responsibility of extending various Social security benefits and social assistance to it’s population. The Social Security has it’s backbone in the form of the Directive Principles of State Policy as contained in the Constitution and from which it derives its strength and spirit. The goal of a welfare state can be achieved not only by improving the working conditions of the employees but also by guiding and protecting them against the uncertainties of the future. This economic and social security is important to enable every worker to become more efficient and to avoid the man -days lost due to sickness and disability. Lack of Social Security hinders the formation of stable and efficient labour force.

Social Security, therefore is a wise investment which yields good dividends in long run. Feeling of Security enhances employee’s efforts to develop them for future. In the above context this paper attempts to analyse the evolution and development of social security in the form of Maternity Benefits to females working in any sector.



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