The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 (“Maternity Bill”), was passed in the Lok Sabha on March 9, 2017. The Rajya Sabha had passed the Maternity Bill earlier in August, 2016.
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 is applicable to every establishment having 10 or more employees.
Following are the key provisions of the Maternity Bill:
- The period of maternity leave has been increased to 26 weeks from the current 12 weeks for the first two children. For subsequent children, the period of maternity leave remains unchanged i.e. 12 weeks. Out of the 26 weeks of maternity leave, not more than 8 weeks can be taken before the date of expected delivery, whereas earlier, the pre-natal period was prescribed to be not more than 6 weeks.
- Employers are required to provide 12 weeks of maternity leave to commissioning / adopting mothers starting from the date the child is handed over.
- Establishments having 50 or more employees are required to provide creche facilities either individually or as a shared common facility within the prescribed distance as may be prescribed by rules & permit the woman employee to make four visits to the crèche in a day which also includes her interval for rest.
- An employer may allow a woman to work from home based on the nature of work. This may be mutually agreed upon by the employer and the woman.
- Women employees are to be informed of the applicable maternity benefits in writing and electronically, at the time of appointment.
The Maternity Bill will now be sent to the President for his assent. Upon receiving Presidential assent, and publication in the official Gazette the amended maternity law will come into effect from the date as specified in the Official Gazette notification.
Important: For the recent update and clarification, please see the attached documents.