Cabinet clears amendment to Maternity Benefits, Factories Act

Cabinet today gave ex-post facto approval to the amendments made to the Maternity Benefits Act, that aims to raise maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.

The Cabinet also gave ex-post facto nod to for amendments in the Factories Act, which has already been introduced in the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament.

“The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 by introducing the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament,” an official statement said.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a full paid absence from work – to take care for her child.

It is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons and the amendments will help around 1.8 million women workforce in the organized sector.

These amendments include increasing maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children, 12 weeks maternity leave to a ‘Commissioning mother’ and ‘Adopting mother’ and mandatory provision of creche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees, the statement said.

In the case of the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the approved amendments will give boost to manufacturing sector and facilitate ease of doing business with an aim to enhance employment opportunities, it added.

These amendments relate to increase in overtime hours from the existing 50 hours per quarter to 100 hours (Section 64) and existing 75 hours per quarter to 125 hours (Section 65).

Earlier in the day, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya introduced the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha, that seeks to enhance the limit of overtime hours.

The bill that was opposed by several opposition parties, was passed by the Lower House after Congress and Left parties staged a walkout. Besides, Congress, the bill was also opposed by the Left parties, TMC, JDU and IUML.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was listed in the Rajya Sabha, could not be taken up today.

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