Maternity Benefit Act 1961 - Maternity Benefit Act 1961...

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Maternity Benefit Act 1961 History: The Convention of "Protection of Motherhood" adopted in 1919 was the earliest among the ILO Conventions. In 1921, the Government of India reported that it was not possible to adopt the Convention passed in 1919 due to various reasons. A Bill was brought before the Central Legislative Assembly by a private member in 1924; urging the Government to make it compulsory for the employers to provide maternity benefit to women workers. However, the Bill was opposed by the government on the ground that the need for such a Bill was not felt and that if legislation was passed to that effect, it might have adverse repercussions on the employment of women. The Royal Commission on Labour, in its recommendations, also stressed the need for suitable maternity legislation, at least for women employed permanently in non seasonal factories. As the Government of India was slow to 'act on these recommendations, the provincial governments took the lead. The Government of Bombay passed the Maternity Benefit Act, way back in 1926.. It was followed by Central Provinces, Madras, U.P., Bengal and some other provinces. The period of leave, the quantum of benefit and the qualifying conditions varied slightly from province. With a view to reducing the disparities relating to maternity protection under different provincial or State enactments, the Central Government passed the Maternity Benefit Act in 1961. Article 42 of the Constitution of India directs the State to make provisions for maternity relief. Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 therefore, aims to secure just and humane conditions of work for women and is a beneficial employment law in India. Applicability : The Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 applies to any Establishment wherein 10 or more persons are employed. Under the Act, the condition levied is that the female employee should have served the institution for a minimum period of 80 days in 12 months preceding the date of expected delivery. Also, the Act has undergone regular amendments with the recent one being in 2008. According to Notification by the Ministry of Labour and Employment dated 19 December 2011, an amendment has been made to the amount of medical bonus payable to women entitled to maternity benefit, it has increased from Rs 2,500/- to Rs 3, 500/-. It is apt to mention here that Establishments which are covered under Employees State Insurance Act 1948 shall not be covered under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The Central Government accepted the Sixth Pay Commission’s suggestions to provide female Central Government employees with a maternity leave for a period of 180 days . In addition to the above provisions have also been made for paid child care leave, for a period of 2 years. It applies, in the first instance,-- (a) to every establishment being a factory, mine or plantation including any such establishment belonging to Government and to every establishment wherein persons are employed for the exhibition of equestrian, acrobatic and other performances; 1
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