a. Paid/Unpaid Breaks
The “Nursing Breaks” is provided as benefit for the female employee mothers towards their child under Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. As per Sec 11 of the said Act, Every woman delivered of a child who returns to duty after such delivery shall, in addition to the interval for rest allowed to her, be allowed in the course of her daily work two breaks of the prescribed duration for nursing the child until the child attains the age of fifteen months.
b. Duration of Entitlement
As specified above , upto 15 months of the child’s age.
c. Number/Duration of Daily Breaks – specifically what does prescribed duration for the break construe?
Each of the two breaks allowed to a woman under section 11 shall be of fifteen minutes duration: Provided that, having regard to time reasonably required to a woman, for reaching the creche or the place where her child is kept by her while on duty and for coming back to the place of duty, the duration of each such break shall be extended by not less than five and not more than fifteen minutes, and where
there is a dispute as regards the time reasonably required by a woman for the aforesaid purpose, each such break shall be extended by such time as may be determined by the Competent Authority.
d. Nursing Facilities - What the nursing facility should be equipped with under the relevant act ?
There is no provision of Creche under Shops & Establishment Act or Maternity Benefit Act, however the requirement of Creche is under Factories Act for female staff above 30. However, if you wish to still provide nursing facility , following are the guidelines :-
1) The creche shall be conveniently accessible to the mothers of the children accommodated therein and so far as is reasonably practicable it shall not be situated in close proximity to any part of the office
or in which excessively noisy processes are carried on.
(2) The building / facility in which the creche is situated shall be soundly constructed and all the walls and roofs shall be of suitable heat-resisting materials and shall be water-proof. The floor and internal walls of the creche shall be so laid or finished as to provide a smooth impervious surface.
(3) The height of the rooms in the buildings shall be not less than 3.75 metres from the floor to the lowest part of the roof and there shall be not less than 2 square metres of floor area for each child to be accommodated [subject to the condition that the area of the creche shall not be less than 10 square metres
(4) Effective and suitable provision shall be made in every part of the creche for securing and maintaining adequate ventilation by the circulation of fresh air.
(5) The creche shall be adequately furnished and equipped and in particular there shall be one suitable cot or cradle with the necessary bedding for each child:
Provided that for children over two years of age it will be sufficient if suitable beddings made available and at least one chair or equivalent seatings accommodation for the use of each mother while she is feeding or attending to her child and a sufficient supply of suitable toys for the older children.
(6) A suitable fenced and shady open air play-ground shall be provided for the older children.
e. What kind of records are required to be maintained by the employer?
As far as nursing breaks are concerned, the compliance under Maternity Benefit Act is to maintain Form 10 - Maternity Benefit Register.