The Government of Tamil Nadu vide notification no. SRO A-1/2021, has amended the Tamil Nadu Maternity Benefit Rules, 1967 ("Rules") under the powers conferred by Section 28 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. As per the amendment, a new Rule 6A has been inserted in the principal Rules which mandates every establishment with 50 or more employees to have the facility of "Creche", which shall be maintained by the employer for the use of children of women employees.

Creche Management

Further, the amendment directs such establishments to have at least one creche for every 30 children under the age of six years. The Creche shall be staffed with one woman i.e. "creche attender" who is qualified or trained in mid-wifery and one woman helper for every 10-15 children, who shall accompany the woman teacher-cum-warden. As per the amendment, the creches shall be conveniently accessible and shall be placed within 500 metres from the main entrance of establishment and away from excessively noisy process or dust/fumes/odours. There are also additional facilities that have been notified through the amendment such as suitable furniture, cooking and feeding utensils, safe drinking water, milk, etc.

Medical Arrangements and Supervision

Additionally, the amendment, mandates such establishments to have a suitable and separate washroom adjoining the creche, with clean towels, soaps and oil. There shall be medical arrangements in the form of first-aid kit and monthly medical examination of the children at the creche by a qualified medical practitioner. The management shall also maintain a register providing details of children attending the creche along with a register for complaints. Lastly, regular supervision of the creche should be done at definite intervals by the employer or by the representatives of the employer.

This is so far the first attempt by a Government to regulate and answer the numerous questions raised by corporates for provision of facilities to women in maternity.

A step in the right direction even if it is a half measure.

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