National

Paid maternity leave extended to 26 weeks

The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people, and the entitlement applies only up to the first two children. File photo  

Calling it a ‘humble gift’ to women in India, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya welcomed the Parliament nod to the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Women working in the organised sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks. The bill will benefit about 1.8 million women.

The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people, and the entitlement applies only up to the first two children. For the third child, the maternity leave entitlement will only be for 12 weeks. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday, months after the Rajya Sabha approved the measure that takes India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave, after Canada and Norway, where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks, respectively.

‘We made history today’

“I am very, very happy that we have made history today. This will help thousands of women and lead to much healthier children,” said Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development. She acknowledged that ensuring organisations will implement the Bill by providing mothers the 26-week leave, and making provisions for a crèche, will be an uphill task.

“This is my humble gift to women, a day after the world celebrated the International Women’s Day,” Mr. Dattatreya said, after a debate that lasted four hours.


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Printable version | Nov 23, 2021 5:13:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/paid-maternity-leave-extended-to-26-weeks/article17437721.ece

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