Clarification: The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

Clarification: The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

No. S·36012/03/2015-S5-1
Government of India
Ministry of Labour & Employment
Shram Shakti Bhawan, Rafi Marg,
New Delhi, dated 12th April, 2017

The labour Department,
All States/Union Territories

Sub: The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 – reg.


In line with recommendations of the 44th, 45th & 46th Session of
Indian Labour Conference (ILC) and demands from various quarters,
the Government has recently enacted the Maternity Benefit
(Amendment) Act, 2017. Through this Amendment Act, following
provisions have been added to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961:-
Increase in the maternity leave from existing 12 to 26 weeks for
working women with less than two surviving children.
  • Provisions for work from home for nursing mothers.
  • Mandatory provisions for establishments having fifty or more
    employees to have the facility of creche.
  • Extension of twelve weeks of maternity benefit to the ‘commissioning
    ‘ and the ‘adopting mother‘ from
    the date the child is handed over.
Provisions of the Amendment Act have come in to force w.e.f 1st
April, 2017, except those relating to creche facility (Section 4(
1)} which would come into force from 01.07.2017.
2. After the enactment of the said Act, the Ministry has been
receiving numerous queries relating the revised provisions of the
Act. The Ministry has examined such queries in consultation with
Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) and the same are clarified as
below :-
S No. Query Clarification
1. Applicability of the Act to contractual or consultant
women employees.
Since there is no amendment in Sec. 2 of the Act, hence
the original provision will prevail. The Act is applicable
to all women who are employed in any capacity directly
or through any agency i.e. either on contractual or as
2. Whether enhanced maternity benefit, as modified by the
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) bill, 2016 can be extended to
women who are already under maternity leave at the time of
enforcement of this Amendment Act?
3. Whether enhance maternity benefit can be extended to
those women who have joined after availing 12 weeks of the
maternity leave?
Those women employee who had already availed 12 weeks of
maternity leave before enforcement of the Maternity Benefit
(Amendment) Act,2017 i.e. 1st April,2017, shall not be
entitled to avail the extended benefit of the 26 weeks
4. Protection of women in case she is fired by the employer
after learning her pregnancy?
Under Section 12 of the M.B. Act, 1961 it is emphasized
that any dismissal or discharge of a women during the
pregnancy is unlawful and such employer can be punished
under Section 21 of the Act.
5. Whether benefits of this Act can be extended to the
employed women in the unorganized Sector
The Maternity Benefit Act is applicable to all mines,
plantations, shops and establishments and factories. Mines,
plantations, shop and establishments could be either in
organized sector or unorganized sector. Also, clarification
at SL. No.1 may be seen.
3. It is requested that these clarifications may be noted for
compliance and also circulated widely so as to make the pregnant
working women aware of their rights.

Yours faithfully,
(H.L. Meena)
Director (SS)