Govt to increase maternity leave in private sector to 26 weeks

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The union government is set to increase the maternity leave for women employed in private firms from the existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi Monday said the Ministry of Labour has agreed to increase maternity leave to six-and-a-half months. “We had written to the Labour Ministry asking that the maternity leave be extended taking into account the six months of breastfeeding that is required post childbirth. The Labour Ministry has agreed to increase it to six-and-a-half months,” said Maneka.

The Ministry of Labour is expected to amend the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which presently entitles women to 12 weeks of maternity benefit whereby employers are liable to pay full wages for the period of leave.
Officials of the WCD Ministry said they will push for extending the leave to eight months, or 32 weeks, for women employed in both private and government sectors.

The central government has decided to to increase the maternity leave for private sector employees from the existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks.

“We had written to the Labour Ministry asking that the maternity leave be extended taking into account the six months of breastfeeding that is required post childbirth. The Labour Ministry has agreed to increase it to six-and-a-half months,” Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Monday.

According to reports, the ministry is also planning to approach the Labour Ministry to further extend the maternity leave to 32 weeks or 8 months, where by women employed in private sector are entitled to receive full salary and other benefits during the period of leave.

Even though the move is a welcome step many including labour unions have expressed concerns that it could affect the job prospects of women in the private sector in the long run.

 

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