Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday lauded the passage of the Maternity Benefit Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha. Its passage “is a landmark moment in our efforts towards women-led development”, he tweeted.
The bill ensures better health and well-being of the mother and child. “Increase in maternity leave is a welcome provision,” Modi said.
“Employment of women is protected thanks to the bill.” He also lauded the mandatory provision of creche in offices.
The bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday, increases maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks. It also provides for leave up to 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below the age of three months and for commissioning mothers. Passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 11, 2016, the bill once it becomes law will be applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons.
Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development said that she was very happy that they have made history today. This will help thousands of women and lead to much healthier children.
She acknowledged that ensuring organisations will implement the Bill by providing mothers the 26-week leave, and making provisions for a crèche, will be an uphill task.
“This is my humble gift to women, a day after the world celebrated the International Women’s Day,” Mr. Dattatreya said, after a debate that lasted four hours.
The bill will benefit about 1.8 million women.