Parliament has passed the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2018 with the Rajya Sabha adopting it today.
The bill was passed by voice vote during the Zero Hour without discussion. The Lok Sabha had already passed the bill last week.
The bill empowers the government to fix the amount of tax-free gratuity and the period of maternity leave with an executive order.
The legislation will enable the government to enhance the ceiling of tax-free gratuity to 20 lakh rupees from the existing 10 lakh rupees for employees falling under the Payment of Gratuity Act.
It allows the government to fix the period of maternity leave for female employees as deemed to be in continuous service in place of the existing 12 weeks.
After the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission, the ceiling of gratuity amount for central government employees was doubled to 20 lakh rupees.
Moving the Bill, Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said it is a very important legislation for employees, especially for women.
He said, it seeks to notify the period of maternity leave as part of continuous service and proposes to empower the government to notify the gratuity ceiling from time to time without amending the law.
The amendment to the payment of gratuity law comes in the backdrop of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 enhancing the maximum maternity leave period to 26 weeks.
Later, briefing reporters in New Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad termed the bill as historic saying its passage shows the NDA government’s pro-worker commitment.