Soon a woman who legally adopts a child of up to three months of age may be entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave under a provision the government is mulling about.
Besides, the proposal to increase maternity leave from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks is also underway, Union minister for labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya informed Parliament on Wednesday.
“A proposal to provide 16 weeks of maternity benefit to a woman who legally adopts a child up to 3 months of age and to a commissioning mother is under consideration of the government”, Dattatreya said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
He was responding to a question if there were plans to provide 12 weeks of maternity leave to commissioning mothers who use surrogates to bear a child as well as for working women adopting a baby.
The government has held discussions with trade unions and employers in this regard, the minister informed.
In reply to a separate question on raising maternity leave benefit he said: “A proposal to increase maternity leave from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks under the Maternity Benefit Act will benefit women employed in the establishments covered under the Act.”
He was responding to a query whether the proposal to increase the maternity leave will benefit only 25% of the total women work force, which is in the formal sector.
However, the minister replied in the negative when asked if the government was considering to ensure similar benefits to the women in unorganised sector also.