Rajya Sabha today approved the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016, this bill seeks to increase maternity leave to 26 weeks from the present 12 weeks which was earlier passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 11, 2016.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien observed that the measure was already passed by both the houses and there was only a “technical amendment” to which it was to be taken up once again. This bill also provides for leave up to 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below the age of three months, and for commissioning mothers.
The period of maternity leave will be counted from the date when the child is handed over to the family. In surrogacy, the surrogate mother carries a child for another person after an agreement made before the conception of the child. The person wishing to adopt and foster the child is called the commissioning person or couple.
The bill paves the way for the ratification of International Labour Organisation convention No.183 that provides for 14 weeks of maternity leave benefit to women. It also facilitates “work from home” for nursing mothers once the leave period ends and has made creche facility mandatory in respect of establishments with 50 or more employees.