The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 comes into force effective 1st April, 2017.
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 créche 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.
Impact of the changes:
- Maternity leave increases to 26 weeks. Prior to this, woman were entitled to maternity leave benefit of 12 weeks only.
- For the first time adopting and commissioning mother/s are being entitled to maternity leave of 12 weeks. Now, a woman who legally adopts a child below the age of 3 months or a commissioning mother will be entitled to maternity benefit for a period of 12 weeks. The 12-week period of maternity benefit will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adopting or commissioning mother. [ “commissioning mother” has been recognized and defined. A commissioning mother means “a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in any other woman”. Prior to this, the Act did not recognize the role of a commissioning mother].
- Effective 1st July, 2017, an employer may allow a woman to work from home after a woman employee has availed maternity benefit. This may be allowed 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 agreement between the employer and the woman. Previously there was no option to work from home.
- Now, every establishment upon having 50 or more employees is required to have the facility of crèche 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. Previously there was no requirement to provide for a crèche facility on the part of the employer.
- 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.
- Woman who have two or more surviving children, the maternity benefit will continue to be 12 weeks, which cannot be availed before six weeks from the date of the expected delivery.