Towards striking a good work-life balance
In a Corrigendum issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment (“Ministry”) on 3rd April, 2017, the Ministry has rectified the earlier notification S.O. 1026(E) dated 31st March, 2017(reported in the trail mail) stating that Section 4 (1) of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 (“Amendment Act”) will come into effect from 1st July,2017 and not the provision w.r.t the option to work from home [Section 3(5)].
Section 4(1) of the (“Amendment Act”) reads as follows:
(1) Every establishment having fifty or more employees shall have the facility of créche within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or along with common facilities:
Provided that the employer shall allow four visits a day to the creche by the woman, which shall also include the interval for rest allowed to her.”
Hence, the option to work from home [Section 3(5)] is effective since 1st April, 2017. The requirement to have the crèche facility will be effective from 1st July, 2017.
Section 3(5) i.e. “ In case where the nature of work assigned to a woman is of such nature that she may work from home, the employer may allow her to do so after availing of the maternity benefit for such period and on such conditions as the employer and the woman may mutually agree.’’ will come into effect from 1st July, 2017
1. Increase in the duration of maternity leave to 26 weeks: The Amendment Bill proposes to increase the maternity leave benefit to a period of 26 weeks. The maternity benefit should not be availed before eight weeks from the date of expected delivery. Presently, women are entitled to maternity leave benefit of 12 weeks only of which not more than six weeks should precede the date of her expected delivery.
2. Option to work from home: Post availing the maternity leave benefit, an employer may allow a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned to her is such that she may work from home. The terms, conditions and duration for the work from home arrangement would be as per the mutual terms agreed between the employer and the woman. The Act currently does not provide for an option to work from home.
3. Crèche facility: Upon having 50 or more employees, every establishment is required to have the facility of crèche within its proximity, either separately or along with common facilities. The employer is required to allow four visits a day to the crèche by the woman, which will also include the interval for rest allowed to her. This is a new requirement. Under the current provisions of the Act there is no requirement to provide for a crèche facility on the part of the employer.
4. Awareness about maternity benefits:Every establishment is required to intimate in writing and electronically to every woman at the time of her initial appointment regarding every benefit available under the Act.
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