Maternity leave policy in India

Maternity leave policy in India gets an upgrade

September 1, 2016

The maternity leave policy in India has been amended by a the The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which was approved by the Rajya Sabha.

The provisions which have been amended in the bill are the duration and applicability of maternity leave and other facilities. 

The act is applicable to factories, mines, plantations and shops.

In the recent amendment, the following changes have been made:

  1. Maternity leave duration:
    • Previously , the maternity benefit was given up to 12 weeks.The amendment changes this duration to 26 weeks.
    • According to the act, the maternity benefit could not be availed before 6 weeks from the date of delivery. The amendment has changed this duration to 8 weeks.
    • In case if an woman has two or more children, then the maternity benefit will continue to be 12 weeks, which cannot be availed before 6 weeks before the date of delivery. This is similar to how the Act was before the amendment.
  2. Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers: The Bill has introduced a new provision wherein adoptive and commissioning mothers can avail a maternity leave of 12 weeks.
    • For adoptive mothers: This is applicable if a woman legally adopts a child who is less than 3 months of age.
    • A commissioning mother is a woman who used her egg to create an embryo which is implanted in another woman.
    • For both an adoptive and a commissioning mother, the maternity leave will be applicable for 12 weeks from the date when the child is handed over to the mother.
  3. Option to work from home: The bill has introduced a new provision wherein an employer can permit a female employee to work from home if the nature of the work permits it. This facility can be availed after the maternity period for a duration which is agreed upon by the employer and employee.
  4. Creche facilities: The bill has also introduced a concept which requires that any establishment with more than 50 or more employees to provide creche facility within a certain distance. The woman will be allowed to visit the creche 4 times per day which includes the rest interval.
  5. Informing female employees about the maternity benefit: Perhaps the most important provision of the amendment is that every female employee has to be communicated about these benefits at the time of appointment. The communication must be both in written and electronic format. 

So the highlights of The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 are:

  1. Increased maternity duration of 26 weeks
  2. Maternity leave of 12 weeks for adoptive (baby less than 3 months old) and commissioning mother
  3. Option to work from home, provided by the employer
  4. Providing nearby creche facility
  5. Communicating the maternity benefits to all female employees at the time of appointment 

 Related topics: Voluntary contribution towards EPS, Filing of EPF and ESI together. 

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