Rajnath’s Okays Maternity Childcare Leave for Women Soldiers of All Ranks

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved enhanced maternity and childcare leave for women soldiers across all ranks and services. The new policy allows for extended maternity leave of up to 26 weeks and childcare leave of up to six months per child, a significant step towards gender equity in the Indian Armed Forces..

**Enhanced Maternity Leave**.

Previously, women officers were entitled to 180 days of maternity leave, while women in other ranks received 90 days. The revised policy now grants 180 days of maternity leave to all women soldiers, regardless of their rank or service branch. This aligns with the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, which provides for 26 weeks of paid maternity leave to women in the civilian workforce..

**Childcare Leave**.

In addition to the enhanced maternity leave, the new policy introduces childcare leave for women soldiers. They will be eligible for up to six months of childcare leave per child, which can be taken in blocks or as required. This leave can be used to care for children up to the age of 18 years..

**Other Key Provisions**.

The revised policy also includes several other key provisions:.

* Women soldiers who are pregnant or breastfeeding will be exempted from duties that may pose a risk to their health or the baby’s..

* Pregnant women and women who have recently given birth will be provided with appropriate medical care and support..

* A system for monitoring and tracking the implementation of the policy will be established..

**Gender Equity in the Armed Forces**.

The enhanced maternity and childcare leave policy is a significant step towards promoting gender equity in the Indian Armed Forces. It recognizes the unique challenges faced by women soldiers in balancing their professional and personal lives. By providing extended leave and support measures, the policy aims to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for women serving in the military..

**Implementation and Impact**.

The new policy is expected to be implemented in the coming months. It is anticipated to have a positive impact on the recruitment, retention, and overall well-being of women soldiers. By addressing the challenges of balancing family and career, the policy will make the Armed Forces a more attractive career option for women..

The revised maternity and childcare leave policy is a testament to the Government of India’s commitment to empowering women and creating a more equitable society. It is a welcome step towards recognizing and supporting the contributions of women in the defense sector..

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