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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Women may get maternity leave for 26 weeks; Bandaru Dattatreya may table bill today

Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya may table the much-awaited amendment to Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 bill in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, paving way for 26 weeks of maternity leave to working women. 

Move is also aimed at providing 12 weeks of maternity leave to commissioning mothers and introducing an enabling provision of "work from home" for nursing mothers. The changes proposed by the labour ministry have been recently approved by the Cabinet, a senior labour ministry official told ET. 

Since these changes proposed to the Act are women friendly the ministry is hopeful that the amendment bill will sailBSE -0.83 % through the Upper House. Following its passage in Rajya Sabha the bill will be tabled in Lok Sabha where the Modi government enjoys a majority. 

"As per the proposed amendments, maternity leave for women working in both private and public sector will be enhanced to 26 weeks as against the existing 12 weeks," the official said, adding that the 26-week leave, however, will be not be available to those women employees who have two or more children. 

According to the official, the amended Act will also propose 12 weeks of maternity leave to commissioning mothers who use surrogates to bear a child as well as to working women adopting a baby below the age of three months. "Additionally, the amended Act will have an enabling provision that would allow nursing moms to work from home even after 26 weeks of maternity leave, depending upon their job profile," the official added. 

But, work-from-home option will be available where the nature of work assigned to the employee permits her to do so. The woman employee and her employer have to mutually agree on the duration of the 'work from home' arrangement. 

The "women-friendly" steps also include making it must for firms with 50 employees to have creches individually or a few firms can set up a common facility within a prescribed distance. 

Source:-The Economic Times

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