India joins Norway, Canada with longest maternity leave [Governance]
- The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill would vault India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks allowed for maternity leave, behind Norway (44) and Canada (50).
- The Bill was aimed at increasing women’s participation in the workforce which is “decreasing day-by-day.”
- However, a woman who has two or more children will continue to get only 12 weeks maternity leave.
- For the first time, women adopting a newborn, aged below three, and ‘commissioning mothers’ will also be entitled to maternity benefits and will get leave for three months.
- A commissioning mother is defined as “a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in another woman.”
- The Bill has an enabling provision which states that if the “nature of work” permits, woman may also be allowed to ‘work from home’ after the period of maternity leave.
- Establishments with at least 50 workers will have to provide crèche facilities within a certain distance and women will be allowed four visits to crèche in a day.