Reliance Industries, second most valuable company in India, has introduced a 12-week paid leave for ‘commissioning’ mothers who use surrogates to bear a child, as it adopted provisions of the new maternity law. “With effect from April 1, 2017 there will be extension of maternity leave to 26 weeks (182 calendar days), from 180 days, for regular employees,” RIL’s HR department said in a notice to company employees. A similar period of paid maternity leave will be provided for fixed term and trainee employees, up from current 84 days period.
As per the new law, entitlement of maternity leave for third child onwards will be 12 weeks (rpt) weeks (84 calendar days). Also, RIL extended “adoption leave to 12 weeks, from 28 days, for a woman/single father colleague who adopts a child less than three months of age.” It introduced a 12-week leave for ‘commissioning mothers’, the notice said. Commissioning mothers are those who use surrogates to bear a child.
The leave for such mothers is the same for working women adopting a baby below the age of three months.
The 12-week period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother.
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Parliament had last month passed new bill on maternity benefits for about 1.8 million women in the organised sector. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 applies to all establishments employing 10 or more people.
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work, to take care of her child.
The amendment to the Act also requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide creche facilities within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed four visits to the creche in a day. This will include her interval for rest.