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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Gazetted Notification on Maternity Benefit with Extended Leave

The Central Government, in its latest notification on Maternity Benefits has made a significant change to the leave granted to mothers allowing them a grant of 26 weeks, as opposed to the previous 12 weeks. This is applicable to all mothers who have less than two surviving children.

There have also been other additions made to this Act, which include:

·         The definition of a commissioning mother, meaning a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in any other woman;

·         Provisions for women who legally adopt a child, whereby A woman who legally adopts a child below the age of three months or a commissioning mother shall be entitled to maternity benefit for a period of twelve weeks from the date the child is handed over to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother, as the case may be;

·         The provision to work from home: In case where the nature of work assigned to a woman is of such nature that she may work from home; the employer may allow her to do so after availing of the maternity benefit for such period and on such conditions as the employer and the woman may mutually agree.

·         The introduction of crèche facilities has also been another important provision. According to the notification,

(1) Every establishment having fifty or more employees shall have the facility of crèche within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or along with common facilities: Provided that the employer shall allow four visits a day to the crèche by the woman, which shall also include the interval for rest allowed to her.

(2) Every establishment shall intimate in writing and electronically to every woman at the time of her initial appointment regarding every benefit available under the Act.

In a further amendment made to the Maternity Benefit Act, a new notification declares that the changes shall come into effect from 1st April 2017, while sub-section(5) of Section 3 shall come into effect from 1st July, 2017.

While no certain guidelines for crèche facilities have been laid down in this Act, the same can be borrowed from the Factories Act, which lays down guidelines for crèche facilities as under:

(1)    In every factory, wherein more than thirty women workers are ordinarily employed there shall be provided and maintained a suitable room or rooms for the use of children under the age of six years of such women.

(2)    Such rooms shall provide adequate accommodation, shall be adequately lighted and ventilated, shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be under the charge of women trained in the care of children and infants.

(3)    The State Government may make rules-
(a) prescribing the location and the standards in respect of construction, accommodation, furniture and other equipment of rooms to be provided under this section ;
(b) requiring the provision in factories to which this section applies of additional facilities for the care of children belonging to women workers, including suitable provision of facilities for washing and changing their clothing ;
(c) requiring the provision in any factory of free milk or refreshment or both for such children ;
(d) requiring that facilities shall be given in any factory for the mothers of such children to feed them at necessary interval.

The official gazette notification can be viewed at

The notification declaring the date of applicability can be viewed at

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