Indian parliament votes to more than double maternity leave to 26 weeks

Any establishment employing more than 10 people will be forced to comply with the new law

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The Indian parliament has passed a bill to more than double maternity leave to 26 weeks. 

The bill increases maternity benefit from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two children and is expected to benefit 1.8 million women.

India’s lower house, the Lok Sabha, has passed the bill and the upper house, Rayya Sabha, passed it in August of last year. 

Any establishment employing more than 10 people will be forced to comply with the new law, according to India Times

"This is my humble gift to women, a day after the world celebrated the International Women's Day," Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said, DNA India reported. 

The bill also includes a provision under which a woman can work from home after the maternity leave for a duration that is decided by the woman and her employer. 

The purpose of the bill is to increase female participation in the workforce. 

Central government had already amended its rules on maternity leave and has been providing female members of staff with 26 weeks maternity leave.

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