Women lawmakers on Thursday sought paternity leave norms to enable fathers to be active in childcare as the Rajya Sabha passed a Bill doubling the maternity leave for women.
The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill allows 26 weeks maternity leave as against 12 weeks now.
“Men leave the burden of bringing up kids to women,” Rajya Sabha Member Anu Aga said. “By bringing in paternity leave, we can sensitise them on bringing up children,” she said.
India doesn’t have a law mandating paternity leave. From 1999, the Centre allows male staff to take 15 days paid leave. When fathers take more paternity leave, it may increase the ability of mothers to engage in paid work, according to the U.S. Department of Labour. “Motherhood is not restricted only to mothers,” said Rajani Patil of the Congress.
|>What the Bill gives you:
|12 weeks Maternity Benefit to a 'Commissioning mother' and 'Adopting mother'.
|Increase Maternity Benefit from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two childern.
|Facilitate 'Work from home' if such a provision is provided by the Employer.
|Mandatory provision of Creche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees.
|The amendments is believed to help approximately 1.8 million women workforce in organised sector.
India joins Norway, Canada with longest maternity leave
Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill would vault India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks allowed for maternity leave, behind Norway (44) and Canada (50). He said the Bill was aimed at increasing women’s participation in the workforce which is “decreasing day-by-day.”
However, a woman who has two or more children will continue to get only 12 weeks maternity leave.
For the first time, women adopting a newborn, aged below three, and ‘commissioning mothers’ will also be entitled to maternity benefits and will get leave for three months. A commissioning mother is defined as “a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in another woman.” The Bill has an enabling provision which states that if the “nature of work” permits, woman may also be allowed to ‘work from home’ after the period of maternity leave. Establishments with at least 50 workers will have to provide crèche facilities within a certain distance and women will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day.