By a notification dated 31st March, 2017 the amendment to Maternity Benefit Act has been implemented w.e.f. 1st April, 2017. However, where nature of work assigned to a woman could be carried her own home the employer be allowed her to do so after availing the maternity benefit will be effective w.e.f. 1.7.2017.
SALIENT FEATURES OF THE AMENDMENT
Duration of benefit
The maximum period for which any woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit shall now be 26 weeks of which not more than 8 weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery. However, a woman employee having two or more surviving children shall have the benefit of 12 weeks of which not more than 6 weeks shall precede with the date of expected delivery.
Every establishment having 50 or more employees shall have the facilities of creche within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or alongwith common facilities. It is provided that the employer shall allow four visits a day to the creche by the woman which shall also include the interval for rest allowed to her.
Note : The word ‘employee’ though not defined under section 3 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 or even in the amended Act, but it would be construed as ‘woman employee’. In this context it is pertinent to refer to section 48 of the Factories Act, 1948 inter alia providing as under :
48. Creches.- (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……
Obligation of employer
The amended Act provides that 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.