Rajyasabha passed amendments to Maternity Benefit Act  to increase maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Further, this benefit can be availed before 8 weeks from the date of expected delivery (earlier it was 6 weeks). Maternity Benefit Act covers establishments employing 10 or more workers.
Bill also introduces 12 weeks’ maternity leave to,
a. Woman who legally adopts a child below three months of age.
b. Commissioning mother (biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in another woman).
12 weeks will be calculated from the date child is handed over to adoptive/commissioning mother.
In addition to this, every establishment with 50 or more employees have to provide crèche facilities within a prescribed distance. Woman will be allowed 4 visits a day (including her interval for rest).
With the passage of Maternity Benefit Bill 2016 in coming winter session in Loksabha, as many as 1.8 million women in formal sector will get its benefits. However, this law will not provide any relief for more than 10 crore women working in farms or as domestic help.
Government is also trying for a contributory maternity benefit scheme for unorganized sector employing more than 10 crore women. This will significant help them with the expenses due to child birth.