Labour Law

Maternity Benefit Act 1961 Permitting Work from Home for Nursing Mothers

The Maternity Benefit Act 1961 is the Social Security Act that applies to the whole of India to provide for Maternity benefits for female employees working in factories, shops/establishments employing 10 or more employees. 

With the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2017 significant provision of enhancement of Maternity leaves from 12 weeks to 26 weeks it further provides for permitting work from home for nursing mothers under The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 u/s 5(5).

As per the latest notification, employers need to encourage and allow more and more nursing mothers to work from home wherever the nature of work allows them to do so under the Act, subject to mutually agreed terms and conditions in between the employer and the said female employee thereby to allow her to do so and offer to avail of the maternity benefit for such period and on such conditions, thereby to protect the said female employee and her newborn child from getting infected by the coronavirus.

Apart from Covid, giving the flexibility to work from home wherever nature of work allows doing so, nursing mothers shall continue to retain their stake in employment whereby an employer may enjoy their long-lasting loyalty. Thus, Implementation of this provision shall act as an enabling tool in the enhancement of participation of women in the labour force thereby contributing herself as an employee being the employing Company as a family leading to a happy workforce.

The employers could also be advised to permit work from home, wherever the nature of labour allows, for nursing mothers a minimum of 10 months or a period of 1 year from the child’s date of birth.