Most of the Indian women opt out of their career after child birth. Keeping it in view, the Rajya Sabha has approved of the Maternity benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 in order to increase the participation of women in workplaces and protect their employment during maternity period.
Key takeaways from Maternity Amendment Bill are as follows:
1. Now every working woman [working in shop or establishment to which Maternity Benefit Act is applicable] will be entitled to get maternity benefit of 26 weeks. Earlier they were allowed maternity benefit for only 12 weeks. However, such maternity benefit of 26 weeks would be available only to those women who have only one surviving child.
2. Now the benefit of Maternity Act would also be applicable for adopting mothers and for a mother whose child is born via surrogacy. Adopting mother means a mother who adopts a child below the age of 3 months. Such mothers will get 12 weeks maternity benefit from the date child is handed over to them.
3. Employer may allow woman to work from home after availing of the maternity benefit on such conditions as the employer and the women may mutually agree to. However, such benefit would be available where the nature of work is of such nature that she may work from home.
4. Every establishment having 50 or more employees shall have to provide crèche facility to their employees. Where employer shall allow four visits a day to the crèche by the women, which shall also include the interval for rest allowed to her.
5. Every establishment shall have to intimate in writing and electronically to every women at the time of her appointment about the maternity benefit.
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 regulates the employment of women in factories, mines, circus industry, plantations and shops or establishments employing ten or more persons. However, benefit of Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 is not applicable to employees who are covered under the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948.