Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on 15 August hailed the passage of Maternity Bill in the Rajya Sabha and expressed hope that it will sail through the Lok Sabha in the next session of Parliament.
"I am very happy that the Maternity Bill got passed through the Rajya Sabha and I wish the Lok Sabha had been there for one more day (then) we would have got it done. But I am very hopeful it will come through in November," said Gandhi.
The Rajya Sabha last week passed a Bill that provides for 26 weeks maternity leave.
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016, which was moved for consideration and passage by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, was passed by a voice vote.
The measure also seeks to increase maternity benefit from 12 to 26 weeks for two surviving children that would benefit about 1.8 million women in the organised sector.
The new law will be applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more people.
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work, to take care of her child.
With the passage of this bill, India will join the league of 42 countries where maternity leave exceeds 18 weeks. The International Labour Organization (ILO) recommends a minimum standard maternity leave of 14 weeks, though it encourages countries to increase it to at least 18 weeks.