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Union Cabinet approves Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for introducing the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament

The Bill seeks to amend the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The law protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’.

The ‘maternity benefit’ includes full paid leave from work to take care for her child. This law is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons.

Proposed amendments

  • Increase Maternity Benefit to 26 weeks from 12 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children.
  • Mandatory 12 weeks Maternity Benefit to ‘Adopting mother’ and ‘Commissioning mother’.
  • Facilitate Work from home for women during the time of her maternity.
  • Mandatory for establishment having 50 or more employees to have Creche.

Comment

These amendments will help approximately 1.8 million women workforce in organised sector.  Maternal care to the child during early childhood is crucial for growth and development of the child.

Background

The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development had proposed this Bill to enhance Maternity Benefit to 8 months based on recommendations of the 44th, 45th and 46th Indian Labour Conference. The conference had recommended enhancement of maternity benefits to 24 weeks.

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