The government has firmed up plans to increase the maternity leave for working women from the existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
Besides, there are 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, sources said.
“The labour ministry on Tuesday held a tripartite meeting with trade unions and employers for discussing the draft amendment bill to extend maternity leave benefits to natural, commissioning and adopting mothers,” sources said.
As per Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, a working woman, at present, is entitled for 12 weeks of maternity leave out of which six weeks are before the expected date of delivery.
In the meeting, it was unanimously decided that maternity leave for natural mothers should be extended from the existing 12 to 26 weeks, they added.
In the meeting, unions proposed that commissioning and adopting mothers should get a maternity leave of 20 weeks, which the government countered by saying both do not lactate, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) President A K Padmanabhan said.
Another issue put by the unions was that of creches. “It was almost unanimous that there will be creches. The proposal was that firms with 30 women employees or with total of 50 employees will have creches,” RSS-affiliate BMS zonal organisation secretary Pawan Singh said.
The proposal also included the point that mothers who bring their child to the creche will get 15 minutes of special leave before and after the lunch hour to take care of the child, he added.
The tripartite meeting also took up issue of amendments to the Employees Compensation Act.