On 9th March 2017, parliament passed and approved a new bill that will significantly increase the duration of paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. This is a major fillip to women employed in the organised sector and is set to benefit nearly 2 million women. Here are some of the other features.
• This amendment will be applicable to all organisations that have a workforce of at least 10 people.
• Women will be entitled to avail maternity leave for a duration of 26 weeks for the first two children.
• However, for the third child, the duration of maternity leave will remain at 12 weeks.
• In case of adoption, women can now avail 12 weeks of maternity leave in the event they legally adopt a child that is no more than 3 months old.
• Biological mothers can also avail 12 weeks of maternity leave should they choose to have a child through surrogacy.
• Organisations with a workforce of 50 employees or more will mandatorily be required to ensure that crèche facilities will be available to women within a recommended distance.
• The bill also states that women will be permitted to visit the crèche up to 4 times in a day.
• Provisions have also been made wherein employers can allow women to work from home, as long as the nature of the job allows it.
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