Rajya Sabha passes bill to raise maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks

11 August 2016

The Rajya Sabha today passed the amendments made to the Maternity Benefits Act, which aims to raise paid maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.

The union cabinet on Wednesday ex-post facto approved the amendments made to the Maternity Benefits Act that aims to raise maternity benefits for women.

The amendments include increasing maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children, 12 weeks maternity leave to a 'Commissioning mother' and 'Adopting mother' and mandatory provision of creche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees, an official statement had said.

The bill on paid maternity leave may, however, add to employers' hiring costs, but that is likely to be somewhat compensated by improved efficiency of women employees who will be motivated to work harder.

"We are introducing a law which will provide better maternity benefits to women. We are enhancing maternity leaves from 12 weeks to 26 weeks," labour secretary Shankar Aggarwal said at a retail summit organised by the Retailers Association of India.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her to fully-paid absence from work, to take care for herself and the child.

It is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons and the amendments will help around 1.8 million women workforce in the organised sector.

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