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As we know that Indian Government has been trying to encourage women and in return women have proved that they can serve everywhere emphatically whether it is house or corporate world. To protect the women and to develop women, there are various legislations in India. Out of these legislations the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 is most important Act, which takes case of the health of the working women and gives them financial assistance when they are unable to serve their organizations due to pregnancy. The said act is applicable to every establishment (whether factory or shop) where 10 or more persons (including men) are employed. Government has been amending this Act time to time when required, in continuation of that, Govt. has amended this Act again by notifying Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2017, which was pending since last year. However effective date of this amendment Act is yet to be notified in official gazette. The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2017 has come up with the following changes:

1. Change in Maternity Benefit Period: Earlier a woman was entitled to get wages for period of 12 weeks (of which not more than six weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery) during her absence due to pregnancy and delivery. This period has been extended to 26 weeks and now woman is entitled to get wages for period of 26 weeks (of which not more than eight weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery).

2. Adoption of a Child: This is newly inserted provision {as sub-section (4) of section 5}. As per this provision a woman who legally adopts a child below the age of three months or a commissioning mother shall be entitled to maternity benefit for a period of twelve weeks from the date the child is handed over to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother, as the case may be.

3. Work from Home: This provision has been inserted first time {as sub-section (5) of section 5}. As per this,in case where the nature of work assigned to a woman is of such naturethat she may work from home, the employer may allow 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.

4. Crèche: Provisions regarding maintaining of crèche are there in two Acts (Factories Act, 1948 and Shops and Establishment Act of every State) only. This is first time when provision of maintaining of crèche has been introduced (as section 11A). As per this section every establishment having fifty or more employees shall have the facility of crèche within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or along with common facilities.

5. Insertion Of Definition: Definition of “Commissioning Mother” has been inserted which means a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in any other woman.

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