Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016: Amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016’s enactment is a great move for working women in India. In a country where women have been working parallel to men, but have to think of leaving their jobs during pregnancy. The amendments to maternity bill was much needed to empower women.

The end of the career of most of the women in India is due to pregnancy. But, now the situation has changed. Maternity Benefit Act Amendment Bill 2016 has been passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 11, 2016, under which the period of maternity leave has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. The bill is yet to be passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill will bring major impact on the life of working women in India, which in turn will reduce the number of women quitting job due to pregnancy.

The maternity amendment bill is very beneficial for females working in both private and public sector. The unorganized sector is not covered under the bill, hence females working in this sector will not get benefit of the Maternity Benefit Act Amendment Bill 2016.

The Amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 are:

  • Increase in the period of full-paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks of leave for a women having two or more children.
  • 12 weeks maternity leave to adopting mother and commissioning mother and compulsory provision of crèche in all establishments having 50 or more employees.
  • Depending on the organization, nursing mothers may be permitted to work-from-home beyond the maternity leave of 26 week.
  • Under the bill, every establishment is required to inform female workers at the time of appointment about the benefits they will be getting under the maternity bill.

The benefits that come with the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016:

  • Increase in participation of females in the workforce in India.
  • The bill covers females working in establishments that employ ten or more employees, as well as factories and mines.
  • Compulsory crèche facilities to be provided to women by every establishment that has 50 or more employees.
  • With the approval of the bill, India will hold third position in the world, after Norway and Canada, among the countries that allow large number of maternity leaves.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, will empower the females working in organized sector in India.

This is a progressive start and will benefit most of the women of the country.

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