Extension of India’s Maternity Rights

As anticipated, India’s Parliament has now officially signed off on new maternity leave rights.

The changes include:

  • 26 weeks’ of paid leave for most mothers (previously 12 weeks), which can be started up to 8 weeks before the employee’s due date;
  • 12 weeks’ paid leave for mothers adopting a child aged 3 months or less, and for women having a child through a surrogate;
  • all employers with 50 or more employees must provide a day nursery and allow the mother 4 daily visits to the nursery;
  • new mothers can request to work from home after maternity leave ends; and
  • a positive obligation on employers to inform women of their maternity leave rights when they are hired.

The new law will apply to all businesses employing 10 or more people.

The new rights will only apply to a mother’s first two children.  Mothers seeking to take maternity leave for additional children continue to be limited to 12 weeks’ paid leave.

The law will not be effective until publication in Parliament’s Official Gazette which is expected to take place during the next few weeks.

Employers should review their existing maternity leave policies to ensure they comply with the new rules.