New Delhi, Sept 2: Women employees now have reasons to celebrate as the Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has proposed for the extension of maternity leave to eight months from the current 3 months.
According to news reports, Maneka has discussed about the proposal for working and expecting women, with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The ministry has also urged the labour ministry that the maternity benefit provisions should be extended to all working women both in organized and unorganized sector, TOI reported.
According to the proposal, one month leave can be availed before delivery and rest of the seven months leave can be taken post-delivery. [Govt considering doubling maternity leave to 24 weeks]
In Aug this year, it was reported that the government is considering a proposal to increase the existing maternity leave from 12 weeks to 24 weeks under the Maternity Benefit Act 1961.
These benefits will be brought by changing incumbent employment rules of Maternity Benefits Act of 1961.
At present, as per Section 5(3)of the Act, a working woman is entitled for twelve weeks of maternity leave out of which six weeks are before the expected date of delivery.
Keeping in mind pre and post pregnancy complications, the government is now planning to make some changes in the incumbent rule. ['Sound maternity policy can help cos improve gender diversity']
Women in the private sector are often hard-pressed for such leaves beyond the maternity break (rarely beyond 90 days), besides the regular quota of earned, casual and medical leaves.
In July 2015, e-commerce site Flipkart offered 24-week paid maternity leave and flexible working hours for expecting women employees. [24-week paid maternity leave, flexible working hours offered at Flipkart]
Recently, Accenture extended the maternity leave for its women employees to five months.
In order to increase gender diversity, firms are relaxing their maternity policies and using it as a retention tool. Generally, three months of maternity leave is normally given to a pregnant woman but few top IT companies and start-ups have extended it.