Parliament passes Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Parliament on 9 March 2017 passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill seeks to amends the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha during the parliament session. The Bill had already been passed by the Rajya Sabha in August 2016 during the Winter Session. With this, the Bill stands passed in the Parliament. The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2016 will come into the force only after the President’s assent to the Bill.

It seeks to increase maternity leave available to working women from the current 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children. Maternity leave for children beyond the first two will continue to be 12 weeks. Maternity leave of 12 weeks to be available to mothers who adopt a child below the age of three months. It also provides maternity leave of 12 weeks to the commissioning mothers. The commissioning mother is defined as biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo planted in any other woman.

Every establishment with more than 50 employees to provide for crèche facilities for working mothers and such mothers 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 it is possible to do so. Every establishment will be required to make these benefits available to the women from the time of her appointment.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 2016 by the Union Minister for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya. The amendment bill is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons. The amendments will help around 18 lakh women workforce in organised sector.

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