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Centre plans extending paid maternity benefits to informal sector

The Bill is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons and also provides 12 weeks leave for commissioning and adopting mothers.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
August 13, 2016 2:51:38 am

Following the passage of the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Rajya Sabha, the government is looking at widening the applicability of the extended paid maternity leave for unorganised sector. The labour ministry will be writing to the states to discuss ways to provide the benefits to women working in unorganised sector.

“We are thinking as to how we can extend this benefit to mothers in the unorganised sector,” labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said. Of an estimated total workforce of 43 crore in the unorganised sector, the government expects women employees to be around 8-10 crore women.

Labour secretary Shankar Aggarwal said: “There are about 43 crore workers in the unorganised sector. There could be 8-10 crore women in that workforce. Labour ministry will write to states for discussing ways to provide this benefit to them.”

The maternity benefits bill, which allows 26 weeks maternity leave as against 12 weeks at present, was passed in the Upper House on Thursday, allowing an increase in maternity leave to 26 weeks in all establishments, including private sector.

The Bill is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons and also provides 12 weeks leave for commissioning and adopting mothers. The Bill makes it mandatory to provide creche facility for establishment where the number of workers is 50 and above. While there is already a provision of 26-week or 6-month maternity leave for the government employees, most private sector firms offer maximum three months of such leave.

The Bill is expected to be approved in Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, due in another three months.

Asked whether the government will continue with its labour reform agenda including industrial code and small factories bill which were opposed by trade unions, Aggarwal said the ministry remains committed to its agenda of labour reforms.

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