SKP Business Alert
Volume 9 Issue 1 | 3 April 2017

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 (Act) received the assent of the President on 27 March 2017 and is notified with effect from 28 March 2017. The Act regulates the employment of women before and after the birth of their child and provides for maternity benefits. This applies to all the factories, mines, shops and other establishments.

Maternity benefits in simple words mean paying women employees for the period of her actual absence from work during pregnancy. The following are the salient features of the amendment related to the duration and applicability of maternity leave and other facilities to be provided by the employer after the birth of the child:

  • Maternity leave available to working women has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children. This maternity benefit should not be availed before eight weeks from the date of expected delivery.
  • Maternity leave for third child onwards will continue to be 12 weeks.
  • Maternity leave of 12 weeks is required to be made available to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months as well as to the ‘commissioning mother’. Commissioning mother has been defined as the biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo which is then planted in another woman.
  • All establishments with more than 50 employees need to provide crèche facilities for working mothers. They 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 the nature of work permits them to do so.
  • Every establishment will be required to intimate all the benefits available under the Act, in writing and electronically, to all women at the time of their initial appointment.
SKP's comments
Maternal care for a child during the period of its initial growth is essential for the child’s development and growth. Women’s role as a mother should not be in conflict with her professional aspirations and growth. The amendment will help protect the employment of women during the time of maternity and entitles them to paid absence from work to take good care of their child. It will be interesting to know the guidelines/procedures that the government will prescribe in this regard so that businesses can implement the above-mentioned benefits effectively.
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