Posted on August 15 2016
On Thursday, August 11th, the Rajya Sabha has passed the maternity benefit amendments bill 2016. Once approved by the Lok Sabha in the Winter Session of Parliament, due in another three months, it would benefit about 1.8 million women in the organised sector. It will be applicable in organisations where the number of employees is 10 or above. Here are the key facts and benefits you should know about the Bill.
1) Paid Maternity Leave Benefit Increased to 26 weeks from 12 weeks
The bill now provides working mothers in the formal sector to have longer paid maternity leave. It has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks (6 months). However, those women employees who already have two or more children will get 12 weeks of leave only.
2) Paid Maternity Leave of 12 weeks to Surrogate Mothers and Women Adopting Children
At present, the Maternity Benefit Act does not provide any maternity leave for commissioning or adopting mothers. The new bill amendment now proposes 12 weeks of maternity leave to commissioning mothers who use surrogates to have a child, as well as to working women adopting a baby below the age of three months.
3) Work From Home for Nursing Mothers
Work from home can ease nursing. One of the provisions allow nursing moms to work from home even after 26 weeks of maternity leave, depending upon their job profile. But, work-from-home option will be available where the nature of work assigned to the employee permits her to do so. The woman employee and her employer have to mutually agree on the duration of the `work from home' arrangement.
4) Creche Facility
Creche facilities offer relief to working mothers with children. The Bill introduces a provision which requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide crèche facilities within a prescribed distance. Women will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day. This will include her interval for rest.
5) Maternity Benefits Awareness
The Bill introduces a provision which requires every organisation to intimate a woman about the maternity benefits available to her at the time of her appointment. Such intimation must be done in writing and electronically.
Not a part of this bill yet, but the government plans to extend paid maternity leave benefit to women in unorganised sector too after this amendment is put into action.
This is a great step by the Indian government and we are all excited to see the benefits in action not only in the organised sector but also the unorganised sector soon. After all motherhood is a gift to mankind and women must be given the benefits they deserve.