The Maternity Benefit Act was introduced in 1961, with the
objective of regulating the employment of women in certain
establishments for certain periods before and after child-birth and
to provide for maternity benefit and certain other benefits.
However, a bill for amending the Act, was introduced in the Lok
Sabha, on August 11, 2016 by the Minister of Labor and Employment,
Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya. This amendment is applicable to all
establishments employing 10 or more people, and will help 1.8
million women in the organized sector. It is expected that the
amendment will be passed in the Lok Sabha in the Winter Session,
and receive Presidential assent thereafter.
The amendment recognizes the economic rationale of women's
participation in India's economy. A plethora of studies have
highlighted the importance of involving half of India's
population in measurable economic activities.
Highlights of the latest Amendment Bill
In order to protect employment related issues of women during
the time of her maternity the following amendments are
As per the Act the maximum period for which any woman is
entitled to maternity benefit is 12 weeks. However, according to
the bill, a woman with two surviving children shall be entitled to
maternity benefits for 26 weeks. However, for a woman with more
than two children the period for maternity benefits shall continue
to be 12 weeks.
The bill also provides 12 weeks Maternity Benefit to a
'Commissioning mother' and 'Adopting mother'.
Commissioning mothers are biological mothers who use surrogacy
method for childbirth and adoptive mothers are those who legally
adopt a baby below 3 months of age.
Mandatory provision of Creche – A mandatory crèche
facility will have to be provided by an Organizations with more
than 50 women employee. Mothers will be allowed 4 visits in a day
to the crèche including her break time.
Facilitate "Work from home" - The bill introduces a
provision where post the 26-week maternity leave, the employer may
permit "Work from Home" for the new mother
Informing women employees of the right to maternity leave: The
Bill introduces a provision which requires every establishment to
intimate a woman at the time of her appointment of the maternity
benefits available to her. Such communication must be in writing
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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On 31 December 2015 the President gave his assent to certain amendments to the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. The amendments have increased the wage threshold for determining applicability of the Act from INR 10,000 to INR 21,000 per month.
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