The government has gone beyond the conventional maternity leave concept to offer its women employees a slew of benefits.
These include a flexible childcare leave system, a disability allowance and a post-maternity leave window of up to two years.
Responding to the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission, the government has extended the maternity leave period to six months from the current four-and-a-half months.
Moreover, the period of leave, which can be availed of in continuation of maternity leave, has been raised to two years instead of one year at present.
“The first two years are crucial for a newborn. The rules will allow the mother to stay with the child for up to two years on a continuous basis, in addition to maternity leave,” a senior finance ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
The leave taken in continuation would be based on the employees’ existing accumulated leave. “For this purpose, all kinds of leave—earned, casual and half-day can be accounted,” said the official.
The government has also introduced the childcare leave concept.
“Women employees having minor children would be allowed total leave of up to two years (730 days) for taking care of up to two children whether for rearing the children or looking after any of their needs like examination and sickness.”
Plus, women with disabilities would get an extra allowance of Rs.1000 per month till the child turns two.