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Some features of maternity Benefit Act -
Increased Paid Maternity Leave:
The amendment Act has increased the duration of paid maternity leave available for women employees from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Under the amendment Act, this benefit could be availed by women for a period extending up to 8 weeks before the expected delivery date and remaining 18 weeks can be availed post delivery. For women who are expecting after having 2 children, the duration of paid maternity leave shall be 12 weeks (i.e., 6 weeks pre and 6 weeks post expected date of delivery).
Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers:
The amendment Act extends certain benefits to adoptive mothers as well and provides that every woman who adopts a child shall be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave, from the date of such adoption.
Work from Home
The Amendment Act has also introduced an enabling provision relating to "work from home" for women, which may be exercised after the expiry of the 26 weeks' leave period. Depending upon the nature of work, women employees may be able to avail this benefit on terms that are "mutually agreed" with the employer.
The amendment Act makes creche facility mandatory for every establishment employing 50 or more employees. Women employees would be permitted to visit the creche 4 times during the day.
The Amendment Act makes it mandatory for employers to educate women about the maternity benefits available to them at the time of their appointment.
The maternity leave is awarded with full pay on completion of at least 80 days in an establishment in the 12 months prior to her expected date of delivery.
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