Maternity Benefit Act
The MB Amendment Act regulates paid maternity leave entitlement and other related benefits for women employed in factories, mines or commercial establishments employing 10 or more employees. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha .The Bill is an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which protects the employment of women and entitles her to full-paid absence from work to take care for her child.
- Increased Paid Maternity Leave:
The MB Amendment Act has increased the duration of paid maternity leave available for women employees from the existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Under the MB Amendment Act, this benefit could be availed by women for a period extending up to 8 weeks before the expected delivery date and remaining 18 weeks can be availed post childbirth. For women who are expecting after having 2 children, the duration of paid maternity leave shall be 12 weeks (i.e., 6 weeks pre and 6 weeks post expected date of delivery).
- Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers:
The MB Amendment Act extends certain benefits to adoptive mothers as well and provides that every woman who adopts a child shall be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave, from the date of adoption.
- Work from Home option
The MB Amendment Act has also introduced an enabling provision relating to “work from home” for women, which may be exercised after the expiry of the 26 weeks’ leave period. Depending upon the nature of work, women employees may be able to avail this benefit on terms that are mutually agreed with the employer.
- Crèche facility:
The MB Amendment Act makes crèche facility mandatory for every establishment employing 50 or more employees. Women employees would be permitted to visit the crèche 4 times during the day.
- Employee awareness:
The MB Amendment Act makes it mandatory for employers to educate women about the maternity benefits available to them at the time of their appointment.