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The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2016, was passed by the Rajya Sabha in August 2016 and Lok Sabha in March 2017.
Under the law:
• The maternity leave is increased to 26 weeks, and the prenatal leaves are also extended from 6 to 8 weeks.
• A woman is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if she already has 2 or more children and, in this case, the prenatal leaves remain 6 weeks.
• The act also provides an adoption leave of 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below 3 months.
• Female civil servants are entitled to maternity leave for 180 days for their first two live-born children.
• Also, a commissioning mother gets about 12 weeks of leave when the child is handed over to her.
The act also further requires an employer to inform women about her rights under this act during her appointment day. This must be given to her in writing and in the email.
Only on completion of at least 80 days in an establishment in the 12 months before her delivery date, the maternity leave is awarded full pay. Apart from 12 weeks of salary, a female worker is entitled to a medical bonus of 3,500 Indian rupees.
What provisions remain unchanged?
Several provisions of the MB Act remain unchanged. This includes the eligibility criteria for receiving maternity benefit under the MB Act. A woman who has worked for at least 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding her expected date of delivery will continue to be eligible. Further, an employer will continue to be prohibited from employing a woman for a period of six weeks immediately following her delivery, miscarriage or a medical termination of pregnancy. In addition, while there were discussions in the Rajya Sabha on the idea of introducing parental leave, it did not result in any changes to the Amendment. Therefore, the statute will continue to deal with only maternity leave.
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