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Economy

Indian companies must do more to lure mothers back to work

Maternity rights law a step in the right direction, but broader changes needed

| India
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India's female workforce participation rate fell to 22.5% in 2016, from 37% in 2005.   © Reuters

A new Indian law that more than doubles paid maternity leave and requires employers to provide child care facilities at work is a step in the right direction. It will likely improve India's female workforce participation rate, and alleviate a shortage of skilled employees that has constrained economic growth prospects.

However, given that 90% of Indian workers are employed in the unorganized sector, the new regulation marks only the beginning of the reforms that are required. Companies will also need to do more to attract and retain female employees.

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