Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016
The Rajya Sabha has passed the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to raise maternity leave for working women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children.
The Bill seeks to amend the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The law protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’
- The Bill aims at increasing women’s participation in the workforce which is “decreasing day-by-day.”
- The provisions of bill apply to every establishment employing ten or more persons and include mines and factories.
- No employer can remove any woman employee on the ground of pregnancy. It is a mandatory for every establishment having 50 or more employees to have a creche.
- There is also a provision in the bill to provide 12 weeks maternity benefit to a commissioning mother and adopting mother (adopting a newborn aged below three).
- In this case commissioning mother is defined as a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in another woman.
- However, a woman who has two or more children will continue to get only 12 weeks maternity leave.
- With this India will be in third position in the world in terms of the number of weeks allowed for maternity leave behind Norway (44) and Canada (50).