India: Paid Maternity Leave Extended From 12 to 26 weeks

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By Madhur Singh

New maternity benefit rules came into force Jan. 20 requiring businesses to provide 26 weeks' paid leave during an employee's first two pregnancies and 12 weeks' paid leave for adoptive and surrogacy-commissioning mothers.

Under the Employees' State Insurance (Central) Amendment Rules 2017, female employees who have worked for a given employer for at least 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of expected delivery are eligible for the extended benefits, provided they give the employer written notice seven weeks before the expected date of delivery. The 26-week leave entitlement applies only to the first and second pregnancy. For the third child and after, only the original 12 weeks is available.

Adoptive mothers are entitled to paid leave under the new legislation only if the adopted child is less than three months old.

A second bill still pending in Parliament—the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016—would require employers to inform female employees on hire, both in writing and electronically, of their entitlement to maternity benefits.

The bill would also encourage employers to allow new mothers to work from home if the nature of their work permits it.

To contact the reporter on this story: Madhur Singh in Chandigarh at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

For More Information

For more information on Indian HR law and regulation, see the India primer.

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