Good News For All Expectant Mothers: Maternity Leave Raised From 12 weeks to 26 weeks

Good News For All Expectant Mothers

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Your bundle of joy has arrived, and you can’t wait to experience motherhood. Even as you are beginning to get familiar with the entire process of breastfeeding and nurturing your child, you realize you have to get back to work as you want to save up your leaves for emergencies. But what about maternity leave? Oh! Where did the days fly? Worry not, as there’s good news for all the new mothers out there in India. In what is seen as a big leap towards women-friendly laws, the Indian Parliament just passed a landmark Bill.

The new Bill allows working women in the organized sector to avail 26 weeks of maternity leave, a big increase from the previous 12 weeks. This simply means expectant mothers can now heave a huge sigh of relief.

The Lok Sabha passed The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016, on 9th March following a nod from the Rajya Sabha. Now, India stands at the third position regarding maternity leave (26) after Norway (44) and Canada (50). This period is more than what’s allowed in developed countries such as Germany, Japan, the UK, and South Korea.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the objective of passing this Bill was to make sure pregnant women enjoyed maximum benefits. The Labour Minister called this his humble gift to women to mark the just concluded International Women’s Day.

The passage of this bill was preceded by a four-hour stormy session where several members demanded paternity benefits too, given most Indian families today are nuclear.

What Does This Bill Mean To Women?

Well for starters, a pregnant woman can avail 26 weeks of paid leave so she can tend to her child. But what about women who adopt? Here’s what they get: A woman who adopts a child below three months legally and the biological mother (who donated her egg) will be eligible for 12 weeks of maternity leave. The 12-week period of leave is calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive parents or commissioning parent. The same applies to single parents. But remember that women are entitled to these privileges for the first two children only. For the third child, it would be 12 weeks.

Creche At Workplace

The latest Bill calls for organizations with over 50 employees to set up a creche in the vicinity of the workplace so breastfeeding moms can visit their kids four times in a day (including rest time).

This is not it. If her nature of work allows the woman to work from home, then the same may be availed too. This is after the maternity leave.

Will these progressive amendments have a positive impact on women willing to join the workforce? Let’s wait and watch. But for now, enjoy your motherhood.

What do you think of the new Bill? Have concerns, comments to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

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