It has been reported that the government will increase maternity leave from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
Maneka Gandhi, the Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister, earlier had announced that women government employees would enjoy an increased maternity leave.
But now private sector employees too will be able to spend more time at home with their newly-born. The government is taking the decision citing the current demand, according to which a mother needs to breast-feed her child for six months post childbirth.
Speaking about their decision, Maneka Gandhi on Monday, Dec 28 said the Ministry of Labour has agreed to increase maternity leave to six-and-a-half months.
Mrs Gandhi was quoted as saying, "We had written to the Labour Ministry asking that the maternity leave be extended taking into account the six months of breastfeeding that is required post childbirth. The Labour Ministry has agreed to increase it to six-and-a-half months."
Meanwhile, other WCD officials, who demanded to extend maternity leave to 8 months, were quoted as saying, "The Labour Ministry has decided on six-and-a-half months following meetings with various stakeholders. We, however, feel that eight months of maternity leave - for women in government as well as private sectors - is required."
"We will move a note to the Cabinet Secretariat in this regard. Six months of exclusive breastfeeding is very important to combat malnutrition, diarrhoea and other diseases in infants and to lower infant mortality rate," the officials added.