Sikkim Gov Offers 12-Month Maternity Leave, Moms Find It Welcoming

The Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Tamang, announced on Wednesday that his government would provide 12 months of maternity leave and one month of paternity leave for its employees.

Kalyani Ganesan
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The Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Tamang, announced on Wednesday that his government would provide 12 months of maternity leave and one month of paternity leave for its employees.

The Chief Minister announced the news while addressing the annual general meeting of the Sikkim State Civil Service Officers Association (SSCSOA). He said changes will be made in the service rules to provide this benefit.

12 Months Maternity Leave In Sikkim

He noted that this would be beneficial for government employees to take better care of their children and families, adding that further details would be provided soon.

Currently, the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 provides a working woman with six months or 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. It’s considerable that Sikkim has the lowest population in the country, at 6.32 lakh rupees.

Chief Minister Tamang said that government officers were the backbone of the administration and that they contributed significantly to the growth and development of the state. He also pointed out that there has been a significant focus on streamlining the promotion process for civil service officers, which will lead to an increase in the number of promotions. Further, he congratulated all the newly recruited IAS and SCS (Sikkim Civil Services) officers and wished them the best for a successful career.

Welcoming Move Indeed


The Sikkim government’s move is highly welcome, considering that the first year of a newborn and a new mother's life is highly challenging. It takes three to six months for the newborn and the mother to adapt to their new lives. As a mother myself, I can vouch that no mother would be physically or emotionally ready to get back to work at six months.

While we do get back to work, it’s mostly because we don’t have a choice and not because we are comfortable with it. From pumping breast milk during breaks, packing and scheduling the pumped milk, ensuring the caretaker has rightly understood it, making food preparations, and keeping an eye out on the baby monitor to ensure the baby is well cared for, to dealing with mom guilt and trying to find a work-life balance as a perennial sleep-deprived zombie, the first year as a mother isn’t easy at all.

Mothers Express Their Joy

Subashini Sreeram, the mother of an 11-year-old, called this a welcoming move for working mothers. She pointed out that awareness should be raised about the significant role that fathers play in the upbringing of a child. "Fathers cannot take this as a paid holiday and resort to chilling out. They need to realise that it’s a crucial time for both the baby and the mother and be a steadfast support system for both of them," she said.

"Considering the increasing number of nuclear families, it’s very difficult to find a reliable and trustworthy caretaker to look after the baby. Besides, babysitters charge a fortune, and not everyone can afford it. I had to rely on my ageing parents, who had their own health issues, and it was a challenging time for all of us," said Anitha Ram, mother of nine and five-year-old kids.

"My child was born during the COVID-19 pandemic, so I had the opportunity to work from home. However, as comfortable as it may sound, it’s very difficult to find a balance between physically being around the child and being emotionally occupied with office work. I used to be very anxious not to miss out on his milestones because that’s the stage where babies do a lot of their firsts," said Lavanya Periyasamy, mother of a 3-year-old.


"As an exclusive breastfeeding mother, breastfeeding was a huge challenge for me," said Rachel Emmanuel, mother of a six-year-old. She continued, "I had to pump during office hours, which was uncomfortable. Then there were these long nights when I had to stay with my kid, nurse her, and then go back to work the next day, which was exhausting. I wish that this law gets implemented across the country," she said.

Suggested Reading: Jharkhand Grants 180 Days Maternity Leave To Contractual Staff

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