The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed in Lok Sabha on March 09, 2017 in Rajya Sabha on August 11, 2016, and received an assent from the president of Indian on March 27, 2017. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 was an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The provision of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 shall be applicable with effect from 1st April 2017.

The detailed comparative analysis of old and new provisions of the Act are enumerated below for a better understanding of the Act.

S. No Section/Provision The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017
1 Section 5(3) – Duration of maternity leave 1. Women employed in mines, factories, shops and establishments with 10 or more employees and other notified establishments, are entitled to maternity leave for a period of 12 weeks, with full wages.
2. Maternity leave shall not be availed before 6 weeks from the date of expected date of delivery.
3. Maternity leaves applicable irrespective of a number of children.
1. Maternity leave has increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
2. Maternity leave shall not be availed before 8 weeks from the date of expected date of delivery.
3. Women who have 2 or more children, the maternity leave shall be 12 weeks, which can only be availed 6 weeks before the date of expected date of delivery.
2 No provision in the old 1961 act regarding maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mother.
No provision of work from home.
Amendment to section 5 by insertion of provision 4 & 5
No provision Amendment to Section 3(ba): “commissioning mother” means a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in any other woman.
A woman who legally adopts a child below 3 months of age shall be eligible for 12 weeks of maternity leave.
The 12 weeks period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother.
Option to work from home: Where the nature of work assigned to a woman is of such nature that she may work from home; the employer may grant her to do so after availing of the maternity benefit for such period and on such conditions as the employer and the woman may mutually agree.
3 Insertion of section 11A
Creche facility
Intimation to employee
No such provision Every establishment having 50 or more employees shall have the facility of creche
The woman will be allowed 4 visits to the creche in a day (This will include her interval for rest)

Note: Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 has come into force with effect from April 1, 2017, however the provision on creche facility (section 11A) shall be applicable from July 1st, 2017.

Clarifications on the applicability of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment:

After the enactment of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, the Ministry has been receiving queries relating the revised provisions of the Act. The Ministry has examined such queries and gave its clarification on the same as below:

S. No Query Clarification
1 Applicability of the Act to contractual or consultant woman employees Since there is no amendment in Section 2 of the Act, the original provision shall prevail
3The Act is applicable to all women who are employed in any capacity whether directly or through any agency i.e., either on contractual or as a consultant.
2 Whether enhanced maternity benefit, as modified by the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 can be allowed to women who are already availing maternity leave at the time of enforcement of his Amendment Act? Yes
3 Whether enhanced maternity benefit can be extended to those women who have rejoined after availing 12 weeks of the maternity leave? Those women employees who had already availed 12 weeks of maternity leave before enforcement of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) 2017 shall not be eligible for extended maternity leave facility
4 Protection of women in case she is fired by the employer after knowing about her pregnancy? Under Section 12 Of The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 it is emphasized that any dismissal or removal of women during the pregnancy is unlawful and such employer can be punished under Section 21 of the Act.
5 Whether benefits of this Act can be extended to the employed women in the unorganized sector It is extended to organized and unorganized sectors.

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