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14 April 2023: Benefits of Maternity for Mothers of Adoptees

Context:

A petition questioning the constitutionality of Section 5(4) of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, was accepted for hearing by the Supreme Court.

The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961’s Section 5(4)

  • It specifies that a woman shall be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if she lawfully adopts a child who is under three months old.
  • According to the petition, Section 5(4) of the Act is “arbitrary” and “discriminatory” toward adoptive mothers and orphaned infants older than three months.

Amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act of 2017

  • For mothers who adopt, there were no particular restrictions in the original 1961 law.
  • Section 5 of the previous act was modified by the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act of 2017 to permit 26 weeks of paid leave following childbirth, but only for biological mothers.
  • A woman who legally adopts a child under the age of three months or who serves as a commissioning mother is entitled to maternity benefits for a period of twelve weeks beginning on the day the child is given to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother, as the case may be, per Section 5(4) of the amended Act.
  • The mother who aspires to have a child through the use of a surrogate mother’s rented womb is known as a “commissioning mother.” The commission mother, however, continues to be the child’s biological mother and is the child’s only legal guardian.
  • Work-from-home choice: The bill adds a clause stating that an employer may let a woman work from home.
  • Facilities for childcare: The bill adds a clause requiring childcare facilities within a certain radius for every business with 50 or more employees. The woman is permitted four visits to the childcare facility per day. She will also take a break during this.
  • educating female workers on their right to maternity leave.
  • The unorganized sector is not covered by this.