Maternity blog

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

Introduction

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 was enacted to protect women employees during the maternity period.  The legislation entitles women employees maternity benefit of full paid wages during pre pregnancy and post pregnancy periods.  According to the Act, a woman employee is entitled to 12 weeks maternity benefits.

This has now been amended by the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2017 passed by parliament on March 09, 2017.

Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

The provisions of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 is effective from April 01, 2017.  The Act is applicable to all establishments that include factories plantations, mines, Government establishments, shops & establishments or any other establishment as may be notified by the Central Government.  Any such establishments that employ 10 or more employees are liable to follow this Act.   As per the amendment, the maternity benefit period has been raised to 26 weeks from the previous 12 weeks.

Eligibility: 

To be eligible to avail the benefit of this Act, a woman must have been employed in an establishment for a period of at least 80 days in the past 12 months. 

The Key Highlights

Increase in Maternity Benefit period

The period of paid maternity leave which is the benefit provided by the Act has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.  Prior to the amendment, a pregnant woman could avail the benefit for 6 weeks before the date of expected delivery.  Through this amendment, this has been increased to 8 weeks.  The balance 16 weeks can be availed after delivery.

Benefit for 3rd delivery

As per the Amendment the paid maternity period of 26 weeks is only available for the first two children.  Any deliveries beyond the 2nd child will be eligible for only 12 weeks of Maternity Benefit of which not more than 6 weeks can be availed before the date of expected delivery.

Rules pertaining to Adoption or Surrogacy

In the case of a woman employee who adopts a child below the age of 3 months or a commissioning mother (a biological mother who uses here egg to create an embryo implanted in a surrogate mother) will be entitled to Maternity Benefit for a period of 12 weeks from the date the child is handed over to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother.

Establishing a Creche facility

As per the Act, it is mandatory for every establishment have 50 or more employees to have a crèche facility either separately or along with the other common facilities.  The crèche premises should be located within the prescribed distance from the establishment.  The beneficiary woman is allowed 4 (four) crèche visits per day and this includes the interval for rest allowed to her.

Work from Home

Given the present situation where work from home has become the norm, the employer may allow the beneficiary to work from home post the period of Maternity Benefit.  The terms of working can be mutually agreed to between the employer and the woman employee.

Keep the employee informed

The Act requires the employer to provide the woman employer all the relevant information about the maternity Benefit Act during the initial period of appointment.

Conclusion

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 is an enactment that provides protection for women employees to exercise here rights to continue with her profession during the maternity period.  This right is guaranteed under the Indian Constitution.  GetifyHR provides excellent consultation to companies regarding all aspects of the Maternity Benefit Act and Amendments.  Our outsourcing package is been perfectly modified to handle all the changes brought on by the amendment and is also future ready for any more changes.

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The government has released four new Labour Codes

The much-discussed New Labour Codes which were to be implemented on 1st July 2022 has been postponed as of now. These 4 Labour Codes are an amalgamation of the 29 Labour laws. According to the Ministry for Labour and Employment, only 23 states and UTs have released the draft rules under the Code of Wages.

The introduction of the new Labour Codes brings about much-needed reforms in the working conditions of employees in the country. They bring about changes relating to wages, social security, labour welfare, health, safety, and working conditions of employees.

Let us now delve into a few takeaways from these new codes when they are implemented by the Government.

Capping of Daily Working hours

The new labour codes allow the capping of daily working hours from the current 8 to 12 hours. However, the weekly work hours remain capped at 48 hours. This means that if any employee prefers a 4-day work week, he or she can increase the daily working hours to 12 and generate the required working hours for the week.

The new code also allows an increase in maximum overtime hours from 50 hours (as per the Factories Act) to 125 hours in any quarter across industries. The law will enable companies to adopt the 4-day week and employ workers on the weekend, if necessary.

However, the 4 day week could also be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the employees would benefit from a more extended rest period, but on the other hand, it entails longer working hours during the weekdays which may negatively affect the workers’ health. In the same vein, the increase n overtime may enhance the earnings but it will be at the expense of longer working hours or probably working on weekends as well.

Changes in take-home salary

The take-home salary may get reduced especially for employees of the private sector. On implementation of the new codes, the basic salary would be capped at 50% of the gross salary. However, it proposes to increase the PF contributions of both the employees and employers. The changes will also bring about an increase in the retirement corpus and gratuity amounts. This will be beneficial to all employees during their retirement days.

Changes in leave availed

The new codes hope to rationalize the leave an employee can avail of during the course of their employment, carry-forward of leave to a succeeding year, and encashment of leave during the period of employment. The new labour codes have reduced the eligibility requirement for leave from 240 days of work to 180 days of work in a year.

The effect on the unorganized sector

The New Labour codes allow workers of all sectors including the unorganized sector to avail the benefits of the ESIC scheme. A national database of workers in the unorganized sector will be created through registration on a portal under the new labour codes. This will provide medical care to the employees and their family members who work in the unorganized sector.

The ESIC infrastructure that includes the hospitals, dispensaries, and branches is being expanded up to the district levels. On implementation, all 740 districts will get this facility.

Any worker engaged in hazardous work would be given the benefit of ESIC.  Similarly, gig workers engaged in new technology will also become eligible to become ESIC members. Plantation workers will also be eligible for its benefits. Institutions involved in hazardous work have to compulsorily register for ESIC.

Conclusion

These reforms hope to empower the workers in the organized and unorganized sectors. This will herald a major change in labour laws in the country and bring in the much-needed changes that have been discussed about for decades.

GetifyHR is fully prepared to guide our valued clients about all aspects of the new labour codes as and when they are implemented.  Our professional team is fully knowledged about these changes and is capable of providing immediate solutions to any doubts and queries regarding these laws.  Our outsourcing payroll package will also be able to support these changes so that our associates can be fully compliant during the proposed changeover to the new laws.

blog importance

The importance of paying salaries on time and how outsourcing payroll helps businesses grow!

Introduction

Fixing employee salaries and paying them on time is a critical operation in any business, whether big or small. The employer and the HR managers put their heads together to chalk out the salary structure of the employees based on designation, rank, performance, etc.  These decisions are crucial as they impact the performance of the company as a whole.

From the point of view of the employee, the real driving force is the salary they take home. This is what pushes him or her to put in their best efforts at the workplace and only when the employee works wholeheartedly does the business grow. Achieving higher productivity is closely linked to the performance of each employee.

Where the work atmosphere and culture are good the employee will show greater loyalty, but it also depends on whether or not you pay your salaries on time every time.

Let us now look at why you should pay your employees on time.

Why you should pay salaries on time, every time?

Paying salaries on time is an Employee Right!

Governments, whether Central or State have made it mandatory that the salaries of employees are disbursed at a fixed schedule. Companies may pay their salaries on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Whatever the case, companies should pay according to their schedule without any delay.

In the event of non-payment or late payment, the employee can file a claim with the concerned department to seek redressal of their grievances. This would lead to a lawsuit against the employer which is not in the interest of the business. The company may end up paying fines or penalties to sort out this problem.

Loss in Productivity

When you delay payment of salaries you are creating unwanted tension within the workforce. This could lead to losing your efficient employees as they look for better paymasters or the performance of employees drop.  This will lead to productivity loss.

When you pay your employees promptly you are sending the message across that you appreciate their contribution and want them to remain loyal. The employees on the other hand become more loyal and wish to associate with the company for longer periods. This is a win-win situation for both. It improves productivity and generates loyalty.

Save on the Cost of Hiring

When you don’t pay your salaries on time your employees are more likely to be dissatisfied. This would entail greater expenses for the company as they have to pay for fresh hires. This would lead to:

– Loss of Productivity as the new employee may take a long time to be as productive as his predecessor.

– Impact the workplace culture due to high employee turnover.

– Increased hiring costs as you may have to spend on the job advertisement, interviewing, and screening the applicants.

– Spend more on Lawyer fees as non-payment or late payment may lead to litigation.

Non-payment or delayed payment of salaries greatly impacts your business. It is imperative that you pay your employees regularly if you are serious about the growth of the company. Companies normally process their payroll either manually using a readymade package like Excel or make use of a customized payroll package that is fully automated. Manual processing is a cumbersome process and is prone to errors. Making use of a customized payroll package is an ideal solution that can handle the process very efficiently. However, it does have its disadvantages.

How Outsourcing can promote business growth

One way to enable regular payment of salaries is by outsourcing your payroll to an efficient service provider. There is no doubt that this will go a long way in improving performance and creating a harmonious work atmosphere.

Payroll outsourcing is a process in which companies hire a service provider to manage all payroll functions. This includes generating accurate payslips, managing leave and attendance, keeping the company compliant with all the statutory rules and regulations, and also handling all recruitment needs. Outsourced payroll solutions have a few advantages and in the long run, they could help the business to grow. Let’s evaluate a few of these advantages and how they support business growth.

Reduce expenses by cutting down on time spent on payroll processing

When you outsource payroll to an efficient service provider, you not only save time but will also cut down on your expenses. Since professionals run the package, you will be able to save time when compared with manual or in-house payroll processing. This will conversely help you to cut down on your costs as you can do away with a dedicated team to handle payroll and also reduce on investment for costly hardware.

Improve capacity utilization to enhance productivity

Outsourcing to a professional service provider will enhance productivity. How does this happen? During manual or in-house processing you will have a dedicated team conducting the operations. The HR team would be on hand to confirm the outcome of the process and take further action.

However, when you outsource the service provider handles the entire operation and this releases the HR team and the other staff from handling this task. This would enable better capacity utilization as the HR team can apply their mind and effort to core business activities and are released from the pressures involved in a mundane activity. This would significantly enhance productivity.

Preventing Data theft and misappropriation of funds

Data security is a vital factor in payroll processing. The risks include data theft, data tampering for personal gains, and misappropriation of funds. When you outsource payroll you are assured of a high degree of security as all the critical data are stored in highly secure cloud-based servers that ensure the very best of data protection.

Keeping the Company Compliant

Being compliant with all the statutory rules and regulations is of utmost importance in any business.  Any business that employs 10 or more persons is liable to comply with these rules and regulations.

Outsourcing payroll to a service provider will ensure that the company is fully compliant with all rules and regulations. Any changes brought about by the Government will get immediately updated so that the company can be compliant always. By being compliant you are avoiding legal issues.

The functioning of the HR and accounting departments is fine-tuned.

Outsourcing frees the HR department to concentrate on core business activities. This will enable them to monitor the employees better, improve employee retention, attract better talent, and enhance the training process. This will improve the overall functioning of the company.

The accounting department would benefit from getting the required data at the end of the payroll process regularly. This will help them to reconcile the accounts and be ready with all the MIS reports required by the management.

Assist employees with an efficient ESS facility

One of the important features of outsourcing is the highly efficient ESS module that comes with the package. This module will be beneficial for both the employees and the employer. The employees can have access to all relevant information, especially about leave and attendance. The mobile app that is inbuilt gives them the required information on their smartphones.

Conclusion

Payroll processing is a highly critical function that directly affects the business. Whether you do it manually or through in-house automation or outsourcing, any inefficiency in the performance would adversely affect the business. However, outsourcing to a professional service provider will provide a platform that integrates Payroll management, HR management, Leave and Attendance Management, and Statutory Compliance.

GetifyHR offers an exceptional cloud-based payroll module that integrates all aspects of payroll processing. This package provides a high degree of integration of all modules that give the user highly accurate reports as and when required.