New Delhi, Aug 8: Government may introduce the Maternity Benefit Bill, which seeks to increase maternity leave to 26 weeks from current 12 weeks in all establishments, including private sector, in Parliament tomorrow.
The bill also provides 16 weeks leave for commissioning and adopting mothers and makes it mandatory to provide creche facility for establishment where the number of workers is 50 and above. At present, the Maternity Benefit Act does not provide any maternity leave for commissioning or adopting mothers.
"The Maternity Benefit Bill seeks to revise maternity leave to 26 weeks (around six months) from the current 12 weeks (three months) for both government and private sector employees. It is likely to be introduced tomorrow," a source said.
Monsoon Session of Parliament is scheduled to end on August 12, 2016. Labour Ministry wants to push this pro-worker amendment bill. The Maternity Benefit Bill would be the second bill to be introduced by the Labour Ministry in Parliament after Employees Compensation Bill, which was introduced in Lok Sabha last week.
Besides, the Labour Ministry has also got Child Labour Bill passed from both the houses during the current session of Parliament. The bill was pending since December 2012. "Since this bill is not controversial and is in the interest of women workers, the MPs will support it.
Its passage in current session is possible," the source said. While there is already a provision of 26-week or 6-month maternity leave for the government employees, most private sector firms offer maximum three months of such leave.
Besides, these benefits are not provided at all in many smaller establishments. The bill may also have an enabling provisions to allow working mothers to exercise work-from-home option. However, this enabling provision will not be mandatory.