Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The bill aims to benefit about 1.8 million women in the organised sector and increase the strength of the working women force in the country.
  • The Bill aims at increasing women’s participation in the workforce
  • The Bill seeks to amend the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 which protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’.
  • Maternity leave:
    • Increased to 26 weeks for the working women for the first two children.
    • Woman with two or more children will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
    • Woman who adopts a child below the age of three months and also commissioning mothers are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
    • In this case, commissioning mother is defined as biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo planted in any other woman.
  • Crèche facilities:
    • Every establishment with more than 50 employees must provide for crèche facilities for working mothers.
    • Such mothers will be permitted to make four visits during working hours to look after and feed the child in the crèche.
  • Work from home: Employer may permit a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned permits her to do so. This must be mutually agreed upon by the woman and employer.
  • Information about benefits: Establishment must inform a working woman of all benefits available under this law at the time of her appointment. Such information must be given in electronically or writing.
  • Applicability: The provisions of this law will apply to every establishment employing ten or more persons and include mines and factories. No employer can remove any woman employee on ground of pregnancy.
Maternal care to the Child during early childhood is crucial for growth and development of the child. The amendments will help 18 lakh women workforce in organised sector. They also help women devote time to take care of their babies and enable an increase in the women’s labour force participation (WLFPR) rate in India. The labour force participation rate (LFPR) in India is around 40%, but for females, it is only 22.5%. The gap in male-female labour force participation is such that the LFPR for rural women above 15 years is only 35.8%, while for rural males it is more than double at 81.3%, according to a 2015 research paper by the government policy think tank NITI Aayog.
Negatives in the bill:
  • The Bill does nothing to dismantle the male breadwinner model and continues to reinforce the stereotype about childcare being exclusively a woman’s responsibility
  • It assumes that only a mother is a parent or primary caregiver, while a father is the provider and an employee bereft of an active responsibility in childcare. It is silent on paternity/parental leave

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top