Maternity Benefits Central Government Women Employees
The Parliament has passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill of 2016. This bill will now increase the maternity leave available for all working women in India to 26 weeks (6 months) from 12 weeks – the current standard. However, this leave will be applicable only and only for first two kids. In case of 3rd child, this rule will not be applicable.
The approval for the bill took place on March 9, 2016 (that is, today). The bill today passed through the Lower House (Lok Sabha). The Winter Session of the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) had already passed the bill earlier.
What Changes Will be Made?
This amendment bill will actually be amending the 1961’s Maternity Benefit Act. The following things will be amended:
- For first 2 children, the present leave is 12 weeks. The bill will change and increase this to 26 weeks.
- For the 3rd child and further, the maternity leave to be granted will be 12 weeks (as before).
- This maternity leave will be made available to those mothers as well who are adopting a child as long as the age of the child is less than 3 months. Even “Commissioning Mothers” will be entitled to get the maternity leave for 12 weeks. Commissioning Mothers are those women who have their egg implanted in some other women’s womb to create an embryo. The other women conceive.
- The bill also proposes that any organization which has at least 50 employees have to, compulsorily, provide creche facility. The mother will be granted the permission to pay 4 visits to her child(ren) in a day when she can go can feed the child(ren).
- In case there is a possibility of “work from home”, the employer may provide the permission to the mother (female employee) to execute that option.
- These benefits should be available to every woman employee from the moment she is employed by an establishment.
Smt. Maneka Gandhi Says Thanks
Smt. Maneka Gandhi, who is the current Union Minister for Women and Child Development, thanked Shri BandaruDattatreya – the Union Labor and Employment Minister to listening to and acting on the demands put forward by lakhs of Indian working women. Smt. Gandhi also thanked Dattatreya for carrying the bill through both Lower and Upper House. Smt. Gandhi also sent out a message to all women of this nation, specifically to those women who are planning on getting a baby and said that the Ministry will, with all commitment, work towards the development of Indian women and will take all necessary steps towards empowering them.
Smt. Maneka Gandhi requested the Labor Minister to make changes to the bill so that working women who become mothers get at least 6 months of time for breast-feeding their children and also get enough time to recover from the physical weakness that sets in during and after delivery of a child. Smt. Gandhi also addressed the needs of both the commissioning mothers as well as mothers who adopt children.