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Maternity Benefits Act

Epic Reactions to New Maternity Benefits Act

India’s new Maternity Benefits Act was passed last week, establishing six months of maternity leave for biological mothers of first and second children; three months maternity leave for biological mothers with two children already (6 weeks for women with three or more children already); and three months maternity leave for adoptive mothers (of babies younger than 12 weeks) and mothers of babies born by surrogate.

It’s been heralded as pathbreaking by the people who passed it. And critics of the leave disparity between various categories of mothers, and the exclusion of paternity leave benefits, have been rebuffed by sound logic from Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development.

A highly scientific, cross-sectional sampling of social media revealed epic reactions to the Maternity Benefits Act across Indian society, confirming its legal greatness.

“Yo, this is what I’ve been saying. Paternity leave is a joke. It’s totally righteous for dads not to be with their babies.” – Lord Rama

“Six months for maternity leave is enough. The only alternative is to offer five times six months for paternity leave, and that’s just inefficient.” – Draupadi

“I’m conflicted. On the one hand, many times the father isn’t actually the father, if you know what I mean. So why should he get paternity leave? He would just waste it. On the other hand, I’ve always been about sharing.” – Kunti

“Eh, three months, six weeks — it’s fine, if you’ve got a couple of kids already. Everyone knows life gets easier to manage the more children you have.” – Gandhari

“I had asked the powers that be for this boon of an Act.” – Kaikeyi

“Six months of exile is very generous, thank you.” – Sita

“Three months are totes fine for adoptive mothers. Adopted babies require much less care than biological ones; milk and butter go bad really quickly.” – Yashoda

“I don’t get what the fuss is about. Why would adoptive parents care about how much time they get with their child?” – Janaka

“Why are we only talking about maternity and paternity leave? How about family leave or caregiver leave? Seriously, let’s not forget the father’s brothers!” – Lakshman

Only one voice was brave enough for dissent:

“I’m all for paternity leave. You know how many wives I have? Sabbatical, here I come. #YOLO errrr #YOL3X!” — Arjuna

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