Radical changes made in Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 received the assent of the President, Pranab Mukherjee on the 27th March, 2017. Some fundamental changes has been made to 55 years old provision of the Act.

Salient features of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 are as under:

  • Every  establishment  with  more  than  50  employees  to  provide  for  crèche  facilities  for working mothers and such mothers will be permitted to make four visits during working 
    hours to look after and feed the child in the crèche.
  • Maternity leave available to the working women increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children. 
  • Maternity leave for children beyond the first two will continue to be 12 weeks.
  • Maternity leave of 12 weeks to be available to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months as well as to the “commissioning mothers”. The commissioning mother has been defined as biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo planted in any other woman.
  • If business nature permit, the employer may permit a woman to work from home.
  • Every  establishment  will  be  required  to  make  these  benefits  available  to  the  women from the time of her appointment.

India is at third place to provide such leave benefits to woman as compared to Canada (50 weeks) and Norway (44 weeks). The Amendment is going to affect around 1.8 million women workforce working in a organised sector.