- The Act amends the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
- It regulates the employment of women during the period of child birth, and provides maternity benefits.
- It applies to factory, mines, plantations, shops and other establishments.
- It also amends provisions related to the duration and applicability of maternity leave, and other facilities.
Duration of maternity leave
- The Act states that every woman will be entitled to maternity benefit of 26 weeks.
- Under the Act, this maternity benefit should not be availed before eight weeks from the date of expected delivery.
- In case of a woman who has two or more children, the maternity benefit will continue to be 12 weeks, which cannot be availed before six weeks from the date of the expected delivery.
Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers
- The Act introduces a provision to grant 12 weeks of maternity leave to
- a woman who legally adopts a child below three months of age; and
- a commissioning mother.
- A commissioning mother is defined as a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in another woman.
- The 12-week period of maternity benefit will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother.
Option to work from home
- The Act introduces a provision that states that an employer may permit a woman to work from home.
- This would apply if the nature of work assigned to the woman permits her to work from home.
- This option can be availed of, after the period of maternity leave, for a duration that is mutually decided by the employer and the woman.
- The Act introduces a provision which requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide crèche facilities within a prescribed distance.
- The woman will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day. This will include her interval for rest.
Informing women employees of the right to maternity leave
- The Act introduces a provision which requires every establishment to intimate a woman at the time of her appointment of the maternity benefits available to her.