Prime Minister Narendra Modi today described as a "landmark moment" the passage of a bill under which paid maternity leave in organised sector has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. 

 The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday, 9 months after the Rajya Sabha approved the measure that will benefit about 1.8 million women. Modi said the bill ensures better health and well-being of the mother and the child.

The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for only up to first two children. For third child, the entitlement will be for only 12 weeks. The bill also requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide crèche facilities within a prescribed distance.

The woman will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day. This will include her interval for rest. It has also made a provision under which an employer can permit a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned permits her to do so. 

This option can be availed of, after the period of maternity leave, for a duration that is mutually decided by the employer and the woman.