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Maternity Leave Length Increased in India

The Upper House of India’s Parliament just passed an amendment to India’s Maternity Benefit Act of 1961.  The amendment increases maternity leave to 26 weeks of paid leave, a major increase over the current 12 week leave.  It also grants a number of new rights, albeit with important qualifications.  These include:

  • Leave may start up to six weeks before the expected delivery date.

  • The increase to 26 weeks does not apply to mothers with 2 or more children. For them, the leave continues to be 12 weeks.

  • 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.

  • Allowing 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.

  • A requirement for employers to inform women of their right to maternity leave at the time of hire.

The changes still need to be approved by the Lower House of India’s Parliament. The amendments, however, have already been approved by the Prime Minister and his cabinet, and the government has a majority of the seats in the lower house. Therefore, it is likely the amendments will be approved shortly. These expanded maternity leave provisions, providing 26 weeks of paid leave, go far past the protections in some other countries, most notably the United States, which provides for a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave under federal law.

© 2019 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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Daniel Ornstein, Litigation Attorney, Proskauer Law FIrm
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Dan Ornstein leads our London labor and employment team and is a co-head of our International Labor & Employment Group. He has over 15 years of experience dealing with a broad range of UK and international employment issues. Dan is a go-to advisor for clients who rely on his sophisticated advice both on day-to-day matters and high-stakes situations. Dan is ranked in Chambers UK, which describes him as "incredibly analytical", "incredibly intelligent and an excellent sounding board” and someone who “displays both empathy and an assured knowledge of the best way to...

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Erika C Collins, Labor, Employment, Attorney, Proskauer Rose, LAw Firm
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Erika Collins is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the International Labor & Employment Law Group, resident in the New York office. Erika advises and counsels multinational public and private companies on a wide range of cross-border employment and human resources matters throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

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Yonatan Grossman-Boder is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. He assists clients in a wide range of labor and employment law matters, including litigations, arbitrations, employment discirmination, labor-management relations and internal investigations.  

At Duke University School of Law, Yoni served as the publication and lead articles editor of Law and Contemporary Problems and was a legal intern at the New York Human Resources Administration Employment Law Unit. As a legal intern, he worked on a variety of employment matters, including employment...

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