Meternity Amendment Bill 2017 : Maternity Benefit Act 1961 The Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017, an amendment to the Maternity Benefi...
The Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017, an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, was passed in Rajya Sabha on August 11, 2016, in Lok Sabha on March 09, 2017, and received an assent from President of India on March 27, 2017. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’ – i.e. full paid absence from work – to take care for her child. The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more employees.
The provisions of The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 are effective from April 1, 2017. However, provision on crèche facility (Section 111 A) shall be effective from July 1, 2017.
The Act is applicable to all establishments which include factories, mines, plantations, Government establishments, shops and establishments under the relevant applicable legislation, or any other establishment as may be notified by the Central Government.
As per the Act, to be eligible for maternity benefit, a woman must have been working as an employee in an establishment for a period of at least 80 days within the past 12 months. Payment during the leave period is based on the average daily wage for the period of actual absence.
- Increased Paid Maternity Leave: The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act has increased the duration of paid maternity leave available for women employees from the existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Under the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, this benefit could be availed by women for a period extending up to a maximum of 8 weeks before the expected delivery date and the remaining time can be availed after childbirth. For women who are having 2 or more surviving children, the duration of paid maternity leave shall be 12 weeks (i.e. 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after expected date of delivery).
- Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers: Maternity leave of 12 weeks to be available to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months from the date of adoption as well as to the “commissioning mothers”. The commissioning mother has been defined as biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo planted in any other woman.
- Work from Home option: The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act has also introduced an enabling provision relating to "work from home" for women, which may be exercised after the expiry of the 26 weeks' leave period. Depending upon the nature of work, women employees may be able to avail this benefit on terms that are mutually agreed with the employer
- Crèche facility: The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act makes crèche facility mandatory for every establishment employing 50 or more employees. Women employees would be permitted to visit the crèche 4 times during the day (including rest intervals)
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