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Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Bill, women to get 26 weeks of maternity leave

By   /  August 11, 2016  /  Comments Off on Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Bill, women to get 26 weeks of maternity leave

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New Delhi: In a landmark move, the Rajya Sabha today (11 August 2016) has passed the much awaited Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 seeks to increase Maternity Benefit from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children. Hence, the working women will get almost six months of maternity leave and employers will have to take gender friendly measures such as facilitating ‘Work from Home’ and mandatory provision of Creche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi yesterday (10 August 2016), approved the amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 by introducing the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Parliament. The Bill is expected to be passed in the Lok Sabha as the government enjoys majority in the lower house.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 aims at making workplace gender friendly and promoting gender diversity culture in the organized sector by addressing core issues affecting women working style. In a press statement the government of India said that in addition to the proposed increase in paid Maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, other major changes in the bill are as followed: 12 weeks Maternity Benefit to a ‘Commissioning mother’ and ‘Adopting mother; facilitating ‘Work from Home’ and mandatory provision of Creche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees.

The maternity benefit Act 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’ – i.e. full paid absence from work – to take care for her child. The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons. The amendments will help 1.8 million (approx.) women workforce in the organised sector.

Earlier the 44th, 45th and 46th Indian labour conference had recommended enhancement of Maternity Benefits to 24 weeks. Also the Ministry of Women & Child Development proposed to enhance Maternity Benefit to 8 months. The press release mentioned that in the tripartite consultations, all stake holders, in general supported the amendment proposal.

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