The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which will increase the paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, PTI reported. The amendment is likely to help around 1.8 million women working in the organised sector. The Bill will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

For the first time, those adopting a newborn and mothers who are babies through surrogacy will also be entitled to three months' paid maternity leave. Besides this, the amendment made the provision of crèches mandatory for establishments that have 50 or more employees. According to The Hindu, the proposed amendment also “facilitates work from home”.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, entitles women to fully paid leave of absence after giving birth. It is applicable in all establishments that have more than 10 employees.