The maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which increases maternity leave from present 12 weeks to 26 weeks was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
The bill was moved for consideration and passage by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, and was passed by a voice vote.
Dattatreya said that the purpose of this bill is to increase the working women force as participation of women is decreasing day by day.
The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons.
Highlighting that there are more nuclear families now, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said the Bill has its roots in malnutrition, as breastfeeding the child is recommended which is not possible unless the mother is in physical proximity of the child.
The bill also provides 12-weeks leave for commissioning and adopting mothers and makes it mandatory to provide creche facility for establishment where the number of workers is 50 and above.
At present, the Maternity Benefit Act does not provide any maternity leave for commissioning or adopting mothers.