The Tamil Nadu Government has issued an order to implement increasing maternity leave period for government employees from 6 to 9 months. The order comes two months after the state’s Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa, announced that she would increase maternity leave.
Women employees with less than two surviving children are eligible for the 9-month leave with full pay, and the period will be ‘spread over from the pre-confinement rest to post-confinement recuperation’, the order said.
Jayalalithaa had increased maternity leave in 2011 from 3 to 6 months. She also announced a number of other healthcare initiatives worth Rs 1,400 crore. These include procurement of diagnostic devices like PET scan and dialysis equipment, and setting up additional infrastructure in the healthcare space.
The AIADMK government had promised people it would increase maternity leave in the run-up to the May 2016 Assembly elections.
Earlier this year, the Rajya Sabha passed the much-awaited Maternity Benefit Act which proposes that women in the private and public sector should be given 26 weeks’ of maternity leave, as opposed to the existing 12 weeks that they have been receiving. The bill is likely to come up for clearance in the Lok Sabha’s winter session.
Let’s hope that the maternity leave order will push more private companies to follow suit as well!
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