NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha on Monday approved the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 that seeks to increase maternity leave to 26 weeks from the presently applicable 12 weeks.
The Bill was earlier passed by the Upper House on August 11.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said that the Bill was already passed by both the Houses and there was only a “technical amendment”. “Therefore, it has been agreed to pass it without discussion,” the deputy chairman said. Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya moved the Bill which was passed with a voice vote.
The Bill also provides for paid leave up to 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below the age of three months. The period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother. In the case of surrogacy, the surrogate mother carries a child for another person after an agreement made before conception of the child. The person who adopts and fosters the child is called commissioning person or couple.
The Bill paves the way for ratifying the International Labour Organisation convention that provides for 14 weeks of maternity leave benefit to women.