Surrogate mothers may get six months maternity leave

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New Delhi, April 5:  Surrogate and commissioning mothers may get six months maternity leaves, as per new rules being formed by the central government for its women employees.

For the first time, paternity leave may also be granted in case of surrogacy, according to the changes in service rules proposed by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

There is no provision at present for any kind of leave for surrogate or commissioning (who use surrogates to bear a child) mothers.

“It is proposed that 180 days maternity leave may be granted to the surrogate as well as commissioning mothers, in case either or both of them are government servants.

“The commissioning mother also requires time for bonding with her child and to take care of him or her and hence would also become eligible for child care leave,” as per the proposed rules.

Existing norms allow grant of maternity leave to a female government employee for a period of 135 days (about four months and 15 days).

The Centre has also decided to do away with the age limit for child care leave in case of disabled children since the requirement of parental care may be more when such a child grows older.

It may, therefore, be allowed for child care leave in the case of disabled children without any age limit and women employees can avails 730 days (or two years) of leave for this, the proposed rules say.

At present, child care leave can be granted to women employees having minor children below the age of 18 years, for a maximum period of two years during their entire service.

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Child care leave shall not be admissible if the child is 18 years of age or older, as per existing rules.

Women employees will also be able to take Leave Travel Concession (LTC)–grant of leave and reimbursement of travel tickets for going to home town or to any other place–and to leave the headquarters while on child care leave.

At present leaving headquarters or availing LTC are not permissible during child care leave.

The underlying intent of child care leave is to allow care of up to two children whether for rearing or to look after any of their needs like examination, sickness etc. Thus, it is not restricted to exam and sickness alone, the DoPT said.

“Taking care may also include ensuring their rest and recreation and towards that objective leaving headquarters or availing LTC can be allowed. It is thus proposed that the employees may be permitted to leave headquarters and avail LTC while they are on child care leave, provided clearances from appropriate competent authorities are taken while proceeding on foreign travel,” the proposed rules say.

The Centre has also proposed to remove the requirement of child care leave for a minimum of 15 days. “It is now proposed to introduce a minimum period of five days of child care leave i.e., child care leave henceforth may not be granted for less than five days,” it said.

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