NEW MATERNITY BENEFITS FOR STATE GOVT EMPLOYEES Maternity leave increased from 3 months to 6; Adopti

Gangtok, 11 Apr:

The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act 2017, which came into force in the Country on 01 April last year, has now been extended to Sikkim as well, as per a notification issued on 09 Apr 2018 by the Department of Personnel, Government of Sikkim. The state government has amended its Sikkim Government Services [Leave] Rules, 1982, to offer benefits under the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act 2017.

The new law has increased the duration of paid maternity leave available for women government employees from the existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks.

Under the MB Amendment Act, this benefit could be availed by women for a period extending up to 8 weeks before the expected delivery date and remaining 18 weeks can be availed post childbirth. For women who are expecting after having 2 children, the duration of paid maternity leave shall be 12 weeks (i.e., 6 weeks pre and 6 weeks post expected date of delivery).

The MB Amendment Act extends certain benefits to adoptive mothers as well and provides that every woman who adopts a child shall be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave, from the date of adoption.

Maternity leave will be available to mothers adopting a child aged below three months as well as to the ‘commissioning mothers’. The commissioning mother has been defined as a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo planted in any other woman.

Maternity leave for ‘commissioning mothers’ shall commence from the date the child is handed over to the adopting mother.

In case of adoption, child should be below the age of three months and should have been legally adopted; certificate issued and certified by the competent authority for legally adopting the child should be produced at the time leave application is submitted.

It may be mentioned that a Public Interest Litigation was also filed in the High Court of Sikkim by a practicing advocate seeking the court's intervention in making this law applicable in the private sector as well.