THE MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT, 1961

By- Mansi Soni

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 is a law that protects the employment of ladies at the time of her maternity. It entitles female personnel of ‘maternity benefit’ which is entirely paid wages all through the absence from work and to take care of her child. The Act is relevant to the organizations using 10 or extra employees. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 has been amended via the Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017 which used to be handed in the Lok Sabha on March 09, 2017. Thereafter, the stated Bill was once surpassed in Rajya Sabha on August 11, 2016. Further, it acquired assent from the President of India on March 27, 2017. The provisions of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 (“Amendment Act”) got here into impact on April 1, 2017, and the provision with regard to crèche facility (Section 111 A) got here into impact with impact from July 1, 2017.


APPLICABILITY

Upon analyzing Section two alongside with Section three (e) of Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 (“Act”), it can be safely concluded that the Act is relevant to firms such as factories, (“factory” as described in the Factories Act, 1948), mines (“mine” as described in the Mines Act, 1952) and plantations (“plantation” ability a plantation as described in the Plantations Labour Act,1951).


The Maternity Benefit Act additionally applies to organisations belonging to Government and organisations whereby humans are employed for the exhibition of equestrian, acrobatic and different performances as per part 2(b). The stated Act is additionally relevant to each save or institution described underneath law, whereby ten or extra men and women are employed on a day in the course of the previous twelve months and which is relevant in relation to retail outlets and businesses in a specific state.


Thus, thinking about the above, in Delhi, the Act applies to all “establishments” and “commercial establishments” which are blanketed beneath the ambit of Section 2(9) and 2(5) respectively of the Delhi Shops and Establishments Act, 1954.

Further, as per the proviso of Section 2 of the Maternity Benefit Act, the State Government may, concern to acquiring approval from the Central Government, declare that the provisions of Act be relevant to any different institution or category of enterprises which are both carrying out industrial, industrial or agricultural things to do or in any other case any different activity.

It may additionally be mentioned that the provisions contained in this Act, shop as in any other case furnished in sections 5A and 5B, shall now not be attracted to any manufacturing unit or different firms to which the provisions of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948, as per Section 2(2) of the Act. Further, as per Section 26 of the Act, the fabulous Government has the electricity to exempt thru a notification, an establishment, from the ambit of the Act problem to the prerequisites laid down in Section 26.

ELIGIBILITY

A girl have to be working as an worker in an institution for a length of at least eighty days in the previous 12 months to be entitled to maternity advantage beneath the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act.


MAIN HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AMENDMENT IN MATERIAL BENEFIT

The time of maternity go away which a woman employee is certified for has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 (twenty) weeks. The Act as soon as in the previous enabled pregnant female to earnings Maternity Benefit for simply 6 a month and a half of earlier than the date of predicted conveyance and a month and a half of after the date of conveyance. Presently, this length has been accelerated to eight months. The time of maternity benefit of 26 weeks can be stretched out to girls who are as of now underneath maternity go away at the hour of utilization of this revision in the Act.


The expanded Maternity Benefit can be profited for the preliminary two kids. According to the revision, a female having at least two enduring youngsters will be qualified for 12 (twelve) weeks of Maternity Benefit of which no longer extra than 6 (six) will be taken previous the date of the regular conveyance. A woman who embraces a youngster below the age of three (a quarter of a year, or an appointing mom (that is an natural mother, who makes use of her egg to make an undeveloped organism embedded in some different lady), will be certified for Maternity Benefit for a time of 12 (twelve).

Each basis having 50 (fifty) or extra representatives will be required to have an compulsory creche workplace (inside the endorsed excellent approaches from the foundation), both independently or alongside different everyday offices. The woman is likewise to be approved four (four) visits per day to the creche, which will comprise the period in-between for relaxation accepted to her.


Work from home: If the concept of work allotted to a girl is with the quit intention that she can telecommute, a commercial enterprise may additionally allow her to telecommute put up the time of Maternity Benefit. The stipulations for telecommuting may have often concurred between the enterprise and the lady.


Prior Intimation: Every basis will be required to provide the girl at the hour of her underlying arrangement, statistics about every benefit on hand underneath the Act.

The association figuring out with “telecommute has been introduced thru the Act and can be practiced after the expiry of 26 weeks’ depart period. In mild of the thought of work, a girl can earnings gain of this association on such phrases that are in many instances concurred with the business. The elevating of the maternity earnings through 12 weeks to 26 weeks is in accordance with the concept of the World Health Organization which offers that children have to be entirely breastfed by using the mom for the preliminary 24 weeks.

The growth in the maternity depart can assist in increasing persistence paces of children and stable enchancment of a kid.

CRECHE FACILITY INTRODUCED BY WAY OF MATERNITY BENEFIT (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2017

In phrases of Section 11A of the Maternity Benefit Act, each and every institution to which the Act applies and have fifty or extra personnel should set up a Crèche facility inside such distance as can also be prescribed via notification. The Creche need to be installed both one after the other or alongside with frequent facilities. The company have to enable girls at least 4 visits a day to the crèche and it shall additionally consist of the interval for relaxation allowed to her. Every institution is required to intimate in writing and electronically to each and every lady at the time of appointing her at the start involving each and every gain reachable below the Maternity Benefit Act.


National Guidelines for putting up and walking creches below the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

Section 11A mandates the institution of crèches inside such distance as may additionally be prescribed, both one by one or alongside with frequent facilities. As per Section 2(l), “prescribed” potential prescribed with the aid of guidelines made below this Act. Further, as per Section 28 of the Act, regulations can be prescribed through the State or Central Government as the case may also be for carrying out the functions of the Act. The following are some of the key hints posted in the Gazette via the Ministry of Women and Child Development.


Crèche For Whom

The use of a crèche facility is proposed to be prolonged to kids of the age team of 6 months to 6 years of all personnel such as temporary, each day wage, advisor and contractual personnel.


Crèche Location

The middle need to be near/at the place of job web page or in the beneficiaries’ neighborhood, inside five hundred meters.


Timings

The crèche ideally need to open for eight hours to 10 hours. In this case, the employees can comply with a shift system. In case the institution has day and night time shifts, then the crèche ought to additionally be run in shifts.


Facilities to be provided

Crèches must be concrete, with a min area of 10-12 sq.ft. per child, with ventilation, ingesting water and with no dangerous locations such as open drains, pits, rubbish containers close to the center. Further, other facilities to be provided include:

  • A guard, who must have passed through police verification.

  • Ramps and handrails.

  • Every Creche ought to have one supervisor per crèche.

  • The Creche have to have a minimal of one skilled employee for each 10 youngsters who are underneath three years of age.

  • For each 20 teens above the age of three, the creche need to have one skilled employee alongside with a helper.

  • No plumbers, drivers, and electricians and different outdoor individuals must be allowed inner the crèche when teens are present.

  • A Crèche monitoring committee need to be shaped having representations from amongst crèche workers, parents, and administration.

  • Forming a complaint redressal committee for inquiring into cases of sexual abuse.

Maternity Benefit (Mines and Circus) Amendment Rules 2019

It is pertinent to notice these policies do now not follow to Crèches set up in Mines and Circus establishments. Crèches in Mines are regulated through the Maternity Benefit (Mines and Circus) Amendment Rules 2019. Some of the key provisions include:


Rule 2(b) – The crèches are set up for youth beneath 6 years of age.

Rule 4- The crèches are divided into four Types (A, B, C, D) primarily based on the quantity of girls employed.

Rule 4- Basic Standard necessities to be provided.

Rule 8- The crèches shall be open at some point of the total day and open at night time if the ladies personnel are at the office.

Rule 9- Restriction of get right of entry to to outsiders.

Rule 10- Guidelines for medical arrangements.


Are creche services mandatory?

The language of Section 11A of the Amendment Act, 2017 is that Crèche amenities shall be mounted at “every establishment”. Thus, going by way of the rule of literal interpretation, it can be inferred that the area mandates to set up crèches solely in these “establishments” blanketed underneath the definition of “establishment” underneath Section three (e) of the Act.

Further, it can additionally be inferred that an “establishment” excluded beneath Section 2(2) or excluded by using notification underneath Section 26 of the Act, is now not obliged to set up a crèche as mandated.


As stated above, Section 11A’s mandate to set crèches applies to “establishments” beneath the ambit of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. Further, the clarification notification issued on behalf of The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, clarified that as Section two has now not gone through an amendment, there are no modifications involving the utility of the Act of 1961. As per Section 2(b), an “establishment” consists of each and every store or institution inside the which means of any regulation for the time being in pressure in relation to stores and companies in a State.


Consequently, crèches are obligatory in all companies blanketed below Delhi Shops and Establishment Act, 1954. As per Section 2(5) of the 1954 Act, “commercial establishment” ability any premises whereby any trade, commercial enterprise or career or any work in connection with, or incidental or ancillary thereto is carried on..”. Further, as per Section 2(9) of the Act of 1954, “ establishment’ ability a shop, a business establishment…”.

Thus, Crèches are obligatory in companies, companies and advisor businesses even although they may also be included or registered below The Partnership Act, 1932 or Companies Act, 2013.


CONCLUSION

The Amendment Act has come into pressure with impact from 1 April 2017. All organisations blanketed underneath the Amendment Act had been supposed to amend their current maternity gain insurance policies to convey it in line with the Amendment Act with impact from 1 April 2017. The adjustments added via the Amendment Act are applauded with the aid of everyone. However, there are one of a kind elements of the Amendment Act that require clarity. It is now not clear whether or not elevated maternity advantages will additionally be relevant to girls who are presently present process maternity leave.


Furthermore, the justification for having separate superb date for enforcing “work from home” choice is no longer clear, for the cause that works from domestic is an enabling provision delivered into pressure to encourage employers to supply such desire to a lady relying upon the nature of work being dealt with by means of her and no longer a statutory requirement below the MB Amendment Act. The necessities like creche services require extra capital and working expenditure on the section of the employer. The businesses will have to endure the complete fee of imparting go away to employees. In most countries, the value of maternity depart is shared with the aid of the government, employer, insurance plan organization and different social protection programs.


REFERENCES

  • Bhuvana Anand, Significant features of maternity Benefit Act 1961 and 2017 Amendment Act, Grey HR, https://blog.greythr.com/2020/02/03/significant-features-maternity-benefit-act-1961-2017-amendment-act,

  • The benefits women are entitled to and the rights they can claim under maternity, Mint, https://www.livemint.com/money/personal-finance/the-benefits-women-are-entitled-to-and-the-rights-they-can-claim-under-maternity-1557655754106.html


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