Parliament passes bill to extend maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks


New Delhi: Women in India will now be allowed maternity leave of 26 weeks, as per a new amendment to legislation. The Maternity Benefit Amendment Bill, 2016, which was approved by the Lok Sabha on Thursday, extends the duration by more than twice the earlier figure of just 12 weeks.

Ministry of Women and Child Development has said that it is a historic day for women and also added that the pave the way for a healthy and secure mother and a well-nourished child. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi called it a ‘momentous step’ and thanked her colleagues for supporting the Bill.

According to the amendment, commissioning mothers, who have a child through surrogacy, and women who adopt a child below the age of three months will be allowed leave of 12 weeks. The period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the commissioning or adoptive mother.

The Bill also makes it mandatory for companies with more than 50 employees to provide a crèche facility within a prescribed distance. Mothers will be allowed four visits daily to the day care centre.

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