The Government of India has notified The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2016 Act on 28th March,2017 . The Amendment Act received the assent of President of India on 27th March, 2017.
Section 2 of the Amendment Act states as follows;
“(2). It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint :
Provided that different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and any reference in any such provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference to the coming into force of that provision”
The Maternity Benefit Act 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 persons. The amendments will help 1.8 million (approx.) women workforce in organised sector.
(i) Maternity leave available to the working women to be increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children.
(ii) Maternity leave for children beyond the first two will continue to be 12 weeks.
(iii) Maternity leave of 12 weeks to be available to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months 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.
(iv) Every establishment with more than 50 employees to provide for crèche facilities for working mothers and such mothers will be permitted to make four visits during working hours to look after and feed the child in the crèche.
(v) The employer may permit a woman to work from home if it is possible to do so.
(vi) Every establishment will be required to make these benefits available to the women from the time of her appointment.
THE MATERNITY BENEFIT (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2017
NO. 6 OF 2017
[27th March, 2017.]
A n Act further to amend the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:—
1. (1) This Act may be called the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.
(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette. Provided that different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and any reference in any such provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference to the coming into force of that provision.
2. In the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), in section 3, after clause (b), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:— ‘(ba) “commissioning mother” means a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in any other woman;’.
3. In the principal Act, in section 5,—
(A) in sub-section (3)—
(i) for the words ‘‘twelve weeks of which not more than six weeks’’, the words ‘‘twenty-six weeks of which not more than eight weeks’’ shall be substituted;
(ii) after sub-section (3) and before the first proviso, the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:—
‘‘Provided that the maximum period entitled to maternity benefit by a woman having two or more than two surviving children shall be twelve weeks of which not more than six weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery;’’;
(iii) in the first proviso, for the words ‘‘Provided that’’, the words ‘‘Provided further that’’ shall be substituted;
(iv) in the second proviso, for the words ‘‘Provided further that’’, the words ‘‘Provided also that’’ shall be substituted;
(B) after sub-section (3), the following sub-sections shall be inserted, namely:— ‘‘(4) A woman who legally adopts a child below the age of three months or a commissioning mother shall be entitled to maternity benefit for a period of twelve weeks from the date the child is handed over to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother, as the case may be.
(5) In case where the nature of work assigned to a woman is of such nature that she may work from home, the employer may allow her to do so after availing of the maternity benefit for such period and on such conditions as the employer and the woman may mutually agree.’’.
4. In the principal Act, after section 11, the following section shall be inserted, namely:— ‘‘11A. (1) Every establishment having fifty or more employees shall have the facility of créche within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or along with common facilities :
Provided that the employer shall allow four visits a day to the creche by the woman, which shall also include the interval for rest allowed to her.
(2) Every establishment shall intimate in writing and electronically to every woman at the time of her initial appointment regarding every benefit available under the Act.’’.
DR. G. NARAYANA RAJU,