India’s Parliament has officially passed an increase to maternity leave in India. The new law entitles most mothers to 26 weeks of paid leave.
We last reported that India’s Upper House of Parliament approved the increase in August, 2016. However, India’s lower house held off approving the legislation until last week. The new law provides mothers with the following protections:
- Leave may start up to eight weeks before the expected delivery date.
- The introduction of 12 weeks of paid leave for mothers adopting a child younger than 3 months old, and for women having a child through a surrogate.
- All employers with 50 or more employees must provide a crèche (day nursery), and allow the mother four daily visits to the nursery;
- Allows new mothers and their employer to agree to a period of time for the new mother to work from home after the 26 week leave ends; and
- Employers must inform women of their right to maternity leave at the time of hire.
Nonetheless, the new provisions only apply to a mother’s first two children. The increase to 26 weeks does not apply to mothers with 2 or more children. For those mothers, the leave continues to be 12 weeks.
Still, the increase goes far past the protections in most other countries, and notably exceeds the 12 weeks of unpaid leave provided to parents in the United States under federal law. The law still requires Presidential assent and must be published in the Parliament’s Official Gazette in order to be fully enacted. However, these procedural steps should occur within the next few weeks.
April 3, 2017 Update: The law was published in the Official Gazette on March 27th and officially went into effect on April 1st. The provision regarding allowing new mothers and their employees to agree to a period of time for new mothers to work from home after the 26 weeks of leave will not go into effect until July 1, 2017.