Parliament has passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 as Loksabha passed it on Thursday.
Rajyasabha had passed the Bill during the winter session of Parliament.
The Maternity Benefit Act 1961 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.
Salient Features of the Bill
(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.
Read the Bill here.