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.
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 18 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.
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.