Maternity Benefit Act 1961

The Karnataka Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Rules, 2019

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (the Act) was introduced to regulate the maternity and related benefits that are extended to women in certain establishments for a period before and after childbirth.

In 2017, by way of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 (Amendment Act), various progressive changes were brought about to the law, such as an increase in maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks, provision for maternity leave for adopting mothers and commissioning mothers, and the introduction of a work-from-home concept as part of an employee’s conditions of service.

Section 11A of the Act, which was introduced under the Amendment Act, made it compulsory for every establishment employing 50 or more employees to provide a crèche facility for its employees. The Amendment Act uses the term “employees” and not “women” thus leading to varied interpretations – for example, does “employees” include employees of all genders and does the Act apply to both permanent as well as contract employees?
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The Maternity Leave Incentive Scheme, 2018 for working women in India

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (MB Act) was amended in 2017 (Amendment), to enhance/ increase the maternity leave period to 26 weeks from the previous 12, for a woman employee, for the first two children. This blog follows on from our previous posts wherein we discussed the obligations under the Amendment that were solely applicable to an employer. Read our previous post here.

Since the Amendment was aimed to ensure the health of women employees pursuant to giving birth, and to also ensure safety of the new born child, it appeared to be a positive development for women employees in the private sector. However, the implementation of the Amendment has been inadequate and ineffective.
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