New Delhi, March 10: In order to provide a major relief for the women working in the organized sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks, as Parliament on Thursday passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bill was presented in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State (IC) for Labour and Employment, Bandaru Dattatreya.
However, the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which inter-alia includes increasing maternity benefit to woman covered under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 from 12 weeks to 26 weeks up to two surviving children in order to allow the mother to take care of the child during his/her most formative stage, providing maternity benefit of 12 weeks to Commissioning mother and Adopting mother, facilitate “work from home” to a mother with mutual consent of the employee and the employer, making mandatory in respect of establishment having fifty or more employees , to have the facility of crèche either individually or as a shared common facility within such distance as may be prescribed by rules and also to allow four visits to the crèche by the woman daily, including the interval for rest allowed to her and every establishment to intimate in writing and electronically to every woman at the time of her initial appointment about the benefits available under the Act.
Maternity leave available to the working women to be increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children.
Maternity leave for children beyond the first two will continue to be 12 weeks.
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 a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo planted in any other woman.
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.
The employer may permit a woman to work from home if it is possible to do so.
Every establishment will be required to make these benefits available to the women from the time of her appointment.
Notably, The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha on 11th August 2016. These changes will have a major impact on the health, well-being and growth of the future generation in the Country. It will have a positive impact on women’s participation in labour force and will improve the work- life balance of the women workers. The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2016 will come into the force only after the President’s assent.