Passing of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016: PM Narendra Modi calls it ‘landmark moment’; 5 facts about it!

By: | Updated: March 10, 2017 1:02 PM

Lauding the passing of The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by the Lok Sabha yesterday, PM Narendra Modi on Friday tweeted that it is a "landmark moment in our efforts towards women-led development"

He also wrote that the Bill ensures better health & well-being of the mother & child. Women working in theorganizedd sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks.

Lauding the passing of The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by the Lok Sabha yesterday, PM Narendra Modi on Friday tweeted that it is a “landmark moment in our efforts towards women-led development”. He also wrote that the Bill ensures better health & well-being of the mother & child. Women working in theorganizedd sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks. Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya yesterday said, “This is my humble gift to women, a day after the world celebrated the International Women’s Day,” he said after about 4-hour debate during which some members demanded paternity benefits too, arguing that these days most of the children are born in nuclear families where both the father and the mother have to take care of the child. Here are five things you may want to know about the Bill:

 

1) The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work, to take care of her child.

2) The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for only up to first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be for only 12 weeks.

3) Among other things, the bill provides for 12 weeks of maternity leave to a woman who legally adopts a child below three months of age and a commissioning mother (defined as a biological mother) who uses her egg to have a surrogate child. In such cases, 12-week period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother

4) The Bill also requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide crèche facilities within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day. This will include her interval for rest.

5) It has also made a provision under which an employer can permit a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned permits her to do so. This option can be availed of, after the period of maternity leave, for a duration that is mutually decided by the employer and the woman.

 

The central government has already amended its service rules and is providing 26 weeks maternity leaves to its employees. The Minister also clarified women working in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would be entitled to all benefits of the legislation. Responding to concerns expressed by members that benefits would be restricted to only 10 per cent of women working in an organized sector, Dattatreya said the government has taken a host of steps for the welfare of unorganized workers.

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With these changes, India would rank high among the nations providing maternity benefit to women, he said. Indian women will get more maternity leave than what is provided in developed countries like Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and South Korea, the Minister said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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