The cabinet on Wednesday gave ex-post facto approval to the amendments made to the Maternity Benefits Act that aims to raise maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
The cabinet also gave ex-post facto nod to amendments in the Factories Act, which has already been introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.
“The Union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, by introducing the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in Parliament,” an official statement said.
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of a woman during the time of her maternity and entitles her to a full paid absence from work to take care of her child.
It is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons and the amendments will help around 1.8 million women working in the organised sector.
These amendments include increasing maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children, 12 weeks maternity leave to a commissioning mother and adopting mother and mandatory provision of crèche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees, the statement said.
In the case of the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the approved amendments will give a boost to the manufacturing sector and facilitate ease of doing business with an aim to enhance employment opportunities, it added.
Earlier in the day, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya introduced the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in the Lok Sabha that seeks to enhance the limit of overtime hours.
The bill that was opposed by several Opposition parties was passed by the Lower House after Congress and Left parties staged a walkout.
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was listed in the Rajya Sabha, could not be taken up on Wednesday.