The new policy -- which became law Wednesday -- more than doubles the time off for working Indian mothers and means the country now has more generous maternity leave than the U.S., Japan, and France.
The Indian government hopes to encourage more women -- less than 30% of whom are employed -- to enter the workforce. But employers and recruitment experts fear it could have the opposite effect, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses.
Here's the problem. The government has mandated 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, but it doesn't provide any financial support for employers.
That means companies must bear all the associated costs -- including training and hiring a temporary replacement. The law also says companies with more than 50 employees must set up daycare services for working mothers.