Maternity Leave is a paid leave/absence from work provided by an employer to a woman employee for the period before and after childbirth. Maternity is used by new mothers to take care of her and her child’s health. The first Maternity Act was established in the year 1961 and thus the act is known as Maternity Leave Benefit Act 1961. As per the act, a woman must get a paid leave of 12 weeks post-delivery of her child. The Maternity Benefit Act is applicable for all organizations with more than 10 employees.
The Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017 that was passed by Rajya Sabha in August 2016, has also been passed by the Lok Sabha in March 2017 has brought a lot of necessary changes to the act. As per the Act:
- Maternity leave increased from 12 to 26 weeks.
- Female employees with at least two children continue to be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
- Maternity leave will be granted of 12 weeks for female employees adopting a child below 3 months.
- Employers will provide a creche facility if they have an employee count of more than 50.
- Working mothers shall be entitled to work from home depending on work nature.
- A medical bonus of Rs. 3500 is entitled in addition to the 26 weeks of paid leave & 12 weeks of paid leave for already a mother of two.
- Pregnant Women and lactating mothers further draw a benefit of Rs. 6000/- under the National Food Security Act 2013.