India’s Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017

Kegler Brown Global Business News

India recently passed The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which made changes to decades-old maternity leave laws, including:

  • Increasing the duration of paid maternity leave in the private sector
  • Surrogacy and adoption leave
  • Work from home option
  • Crèche facility
  • Employee notification obligation

The Indian government on March 28 made a very progressive change to its archaic labor laws.

With the introduction of The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 (Act), India will be placed globally in the top position in the terms of the number of weeks provided for maternity leave.

Key Aspects of the Act:

  • Women will be entitled to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave (up from 12 weeks) for their first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be for 12 weeks. Women who opt for a child through surrogacy or adopt a baby under three months of age will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
  • The Act applies to all establishments that employ 10 or more people and applies to women working in the private sector (public sector employees already receive 26 weeks). Employers are expected to communicate all the benefits under the Act to female employees at the time of employment.
  • Companies with 50 or more employees will now have to mandatorily provide a day care facility, or crèche. Companies may join with other firms and set up a common facility within a prescribed distance. The amended Act includes a provision to allow the mother (the female employee returned from leave) to visit the crèche up to 4 times in a day.
  • The Act also allows employers to permit the mother to work from home, if possible.

U.S. companies who have operations in India must comply with these amendments, effective April 1. The implementation of this, however, could have implications for companies in India requiring careful consideration.

For additional information or if you have any questions, contact Vinita Bahri-Mehra at [email protected].