How Long Is Maternity Leave (And Why)?

How Long Is Maternity Leave (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 26 Weeks

Everyone knows that the first ten to twelve weeks of a baby’s existence are critical for mothers’ physical recovery and bonding with their children. According to various studies, taking time off following the birth of a child provides advantages for both parents and employers, such as boosting the likelihood of breastfeeding for longer and staying at the same firm a year later.

Unfortunately, many women are unable to take so much time off because their companies do not provide sufficient paid maternity leave, and they cannot afford to go without pay. However, an increasing number of private organisations and even states are increasingly providing paid time off to new parents as part of a family leave program.

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How Long Is Maternity Leave?

TypeMaternity Leave period
After Giving Birth26 Weeks
After Adopting12 Weeks

Maternity leave simply means the time for which a woman takes leave from work for the birth of her child or after adopting a kid. Nowadays, there is a concept of paternity leave as well which is the days off work a man takes after becoming a father.

As per new laws, maternity leave has been increased. Earlier a woman was entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave. But, now the women can take up to 26 weeks off work. Not just this, the pre-natal leave has also been raised. In the past, it was just six months but now you can take eight weeks of pre-natal leave from work.

Though, maternity leave is not the same in all cases. This is because if a woman already has two or more than two kids, she can take maternity leave for only twelve weeks. In addition to this, such a woman can take pre-natal leave for just six weeks.

The best part about maternity leave is the fact that it is not only available for the woman who gives birth, but also for those who adopt a child. So, a woman who adopts a child can take adoption leave. This leave can be of twelve weeks if the kid that she adopts is less than 3 months old.

Moreover, maternity leave can be taken by commissioning mothers as well. If a woman gets her child born through surrogacy, with the help of another woman, she’s called a commissioning mother. So, a commissioning mom can take twelve weeks off her work.

Why Is Maternity Leave That Long?

If we talk about the main reason why women can take maternity leave for twelve to twenty-six weeks is that they need to look after their newborns or adopted children. The first 15 to 39 weeks are really important for the newborn as well as the mother to adapt to the environment.

Maternity leave is to facilitate ease and comfort to women and free them from the tension of work. Everyone will agree with the fact that being a mother is not an easy task especially in the beginning. Earlier, the women had to go and work at their respective workplaces irrespective of pregnancy. Even if some of them took days off work, they had to suffer a pay deduction.

Maternity leave was unpaid earlier which made it difficult for women to take leave when they were pregnant. It is quite clear that maternity leave is a way to give time to new mothers. Its primary intention is to prioritise the health of women and their newborn or adopted children. Maternity leave is important to give a woman physical as well as mental rest.

Almost everyone thinks that they need to be productive at work to have a successful career. And, this is why they are afraid of taking leaves as they think it might affect their career. This is why the government has introduced maternity leave for women so that they can give time to themselves and their children without any kind of tension.

Various studies state that when women get paid maternity leave, it helps in the process of safeguarding their physical and mental health. So, the government has decided to free the women from the tension of work while they give birth to a child so that they can be at peace for some time.


Various researches and studies are enough to highlight the importance of rest for pregnant women and for those who become parents. It takes time for one to get adapted to the fact that they are now mothers to a child. This has made maternity leave quite important.

The fact that earlier women had to take unpaid leave from work which lead to them not being mentally at peace is what made the government make laws for maternity leave for women. Now, a woman can take paid maternity leave and need not worry about work while they give birth.


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