The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 has been passed by the Indian Parliament and awaits Presidential assent to come into effect. While there is no particular timeline for the President to assent the Bill, it is likely the same will happen soon.
The Bill will extend substantial benefits to the country's female workforce. The Bill increases total maternity leave to 26 weeks, introduces the facility of “work from home” and recognizes a commissioning mother and an adopting mother. It also introduces a provision regarding crèche facilities. It has made it mandatory for establishments with 50 or more employees to have a crèche facility within a prescribed distance. The mother will be allowed 4 visits to the crèche in a day. This will include her rest break. It is suggested that employers provide a crèche facility with trained caregivers, and proper CCTV camera facilities, to enable a mother to monitor her child from her work-station. This would facilitate effective functioning of the crèche, and reduce hindrance to day to day business activities. It is anticipated that further clarity in this regard will be brought about in additional rules under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
Content provided by: Soumya Patnaik, Senior Associate, JSA Advocates & Solicitors