The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 is being hailed as a milestone in empowering women at workplaces. This Act regulates the employment of women before and after the birth of their child. This Act is expected to help women accommodate both their personal and professional lives. It not only helps women to manage their family responsibilities effectively but it turns out to favor organizations as well who were struggling to increase workplace diversity and creating an inclusive and supportive work environment.
50 employees or 50 women employees?
The amendments in this Act directs establishments that employ 50 or more employees to provide for crèche facility, either in the office or in any place within a radius that is comfortable for employees to pick, drop and nurse the child. The mother will be allowed to visit the crèche four times in a day. This will include her interval for rest. The government recently released a notification clarifying that companies need to provide for the crèche facility w.e.f 1st July 2017
What is the age limit for children?
The Act does not mention up to what age the child will get crèche facility. However, the survey conducted by ProEves mentions that in absence of any guidelines in this act, companies are complying with the age provision mentioned in The Factories Act where the crèche facility should be provided up to 6 years of age. Although the daycare industry norm is to consider children up to 8-10 years, some onsite centers have a low age limit prescriptions due to capacity constraints.
According to ProEves survey on “Managing Maternity Benefit Amendment Act 2017 Report” suggests that 63% women leave their job due to childcare responsibilities. Additionally, the survey also suggests that 75% women want daycare in the office or a tie-up between office and a daycare. Providing crèche facility would definitely allow women to continue their job as a professional as well as a mother. The crèche facility would permit women to look after her child even during work.
Organizations that already provide crèche facility include Accenture, HCL Technologies Ltd, General Electric Co., Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Airtel, Flipkart Ltd, Godrej Industries Ltd, L’Oreal India Pvt. Ltd, Johnson and Johnson, Genpact Ltd and Hindustan Unilever Ltd.