The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by Rajya Sabha on 11th August 2016 and is pending for the approval of Lok Sabha, after which it would require the President’s assent to be notified as an Act.

Highlights of the Bill are as follows:

  1. The duration of maternity leave is increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
  2. Maternity benefit should not be availed before eight weeks (earlier it was six weeks) from the date of expected delivery.
  3. For a woman who has two or more children, the maternity benefit will continue to be 12 weeks and cannot be availed before six weeks from the date of the expected delivery.
  4. Grants 12 weeks of maternity leave to: (i) a woman who legally adopts a child below three months of age; and (ii) a commissioning mother. (A commissioning mother is defined as a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in another woman. The 12-week period of maternity benefit will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adopting or commissioning mother.)
  5. Allows employers to permit a woman to work from home if the nature of work assigned, permits her to work from home. This option can be availed after the maternity leave period for a duration that is mutually decided by the employer and the concerned woman.
  6. Requires every establishment with 50 or more women employees to provide crèche facilities within a prescribed distance. Woman will be allowed four visits (including her intervals for rest) to the crèche in a day.
  7. Requires every establishment to intimate a woman (both in writing and electronically) at the time of her appointment; the maternity benefits available to her.

Please Read Here: Amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

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