Thank you, Natasha, for your question. The provisions of The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 came into effect from April 01, 2017. However, the provision on crèche facility (Section 11 A) became effective from July 01, 2017. As per the Act, every woman employee of an organization is eligible for the following –
- 26 weeks of maternity leave for the birth of first TWO children - This benefit could be availed by women for a period extending up to 8 weeks before the expected delivery date and remaining 18 weeks can be availed post childbirth. To be eligible for maternity benefit, a woman must have been working as an employee in an establishment for a period of at least 80 days in the past 12 months.
- 12 weeks of maternity leave for the birth of 3rd and subsequent children.
- Every woman who adopts a child shall be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave, from the date of adoption.
- Additionally, the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 has also introduced an enabling provision relating to "work from home" for women, which may be exercised after the expiry of the 26 weeks' leave period. Depending upon the nature of work, women employees may be able to avail this benefit on terms that are mutually agreed with the employer.
- It is mandatory for employers to educate women about the maternity benefits available to them at the time of their appointment.
- The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 makes crèche facility mandatory for every establishment employing 50 or more employees. Women employees would be permitted to visit the crèche 4 times during the day.
- In addition to above, you would like to take a note of the fact that any dismissal or discharge of a woman from duty during pregnancy is unlawful and such employer can be punished as per the provisions under Section 21 of the Act.