11 March 2017 Current Affairs: Women working in the organised sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks, as Parliament today passed a bill in this regard that will benefit about 1.8 million women.The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for only up to first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be for only 12 weeks.The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work, to take care of her child.Among other things, the bill provides for 12 weeks of maternity leave to a woman who legally adopts a child below three months of age and a commissioning mother (defined as a biological mother) who uses her egg to have a surrogate child.The amendments would ensure that full maternal care is provided during the full bloom period and will encourage more women to join the workforce in the organised sector, he added.The central government has already amended its service rules and is providing 26 weeks maternity leaves to its employees.
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