Parliament passes Maternity Benefit (amendment) Bill
Offering a series of maternity benefits to the Indian women, a day after the International Working Women’s day, the Indian Parliament has cleared the Maternity Benefit (amendment) Bill. The bill, which is expected to benefit nearly 1.8 million women, has increased the number of weeks for maternity leave to twenty-six weeks from twelve weeks. With the progressive bill, our country has been inducted in the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave. Canada and Norway hold the first and second positions respectively in this category by offering fifty weeks and forty-four weeks respectively. The Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi, has thanked all her colleagues and the lawmakers who voted in support of the proposal.
The bill, which mandates the employer to give a paid leave for twenty-six weeks to all the female employees who are undergoing their first or second pregnancy, is applicable to all the establishments which have ten or more employees. After the first two pregnancies, the female employees cannot demand her employer to give a twenty-six week paid leave. Anyway, in that case also, she can claim a twelve-week leave. In addition to the maternity benefit, the bill also directs that the employer must offer the crèche facilities in the office or near the office and the employee must be allowed to visit the place at least four times during the office hours. However, the directive to create the crèche facilities is only applicable to those establishments which employ thirty or above workers.
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