Every Indian will be so proud to know how Narendra Modi government’s new maternity policy is getting applause from various sectors around the world. According to an article in Fortune, ‘India’s New Maternity Leave Policy Puts the US to Absolute Shame’. Moreover, the article says, “India’s new 26 weeks of paid maternity leave surpasses France’s 16-week leave and easily bests the 14 weeks available in Germany and Japan.” “The new, extended policy puts most of the rest of the world to absolute shame,” adds the article praising new maternity leave policy by Narendra Modi government.
The article heavily focusses on the US and gives an interesting information that the US guarantees women no paid leave at all. According to Fortune, as per the US’ The Family Leave and Medical Act, made law in 1993, ensures that eligible women don’t lose their jobs if they take up to 12 weeks.
As per new law in India, Women employees are now able to get paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks. In March this year, President Pranab Mukherjee had given assent to the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 that has made changes in some of the provisions of an over-55-year-old law entitling certain benefits to women employees.
As reported by news agency PTI, India is at the third position globally in terms of the number of weeks of maternity leave after Canada (50 weeks) and Norway (44 weeks).
What is this new law all about?
The new law makes it mandatory for every establishment with 50 or more employees to have the facility of creche within a prescribed distance. The employer is also bound to allow four visits a day to the creche by a woman employee. Every establishment shall intimate in writing and electronically to every woman employee at the time of her initial appointment regarding every benefit available under the new law, the statute says. An employer can also permit a woman to work from home after she has availed maternity leave.
In case where the nature of work assigned to a woman is such that she may work from home, the employer may allow her to do so after availing of the maternity benefit for such period and on such conditions as the employer and the woman may mutually agree.
The law also allows maternity leave of 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below the age of three months, and for commissioning mother (a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in any other woman).
The entitlement of 26 weeks of paid leave under the law is only for the first two children. A woman with two or more children will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave, says the law which will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people.
The statute, which will help the approximate 1.8-million women workforce in the organised sector, has amended the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 that regulates grant of maternity benefits to women employees in certain establishments
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 9 and the Rajya Sabha on March 20.