The following amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, by virtue of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, have come into force with effect from April 1, 2017:
- The maximum period for which a woman employee is entitled to payment of maternity benefit is now increased to 26 weeks (instead of the earlier 12 weeks). Further, not more than 8 weeks will precede the date of expected delivery (instead of the earlier 6 weeks). However, such extended benefit will only be given to a woman employee for her first two deliveries. A woman employee having two or more surviving children would be entitled to maternity benefit as per the earlier provisions, that is, a maximum period of 12 weeks of which not more than 6 weeks will precede the date of her expected delivery.