There is an observation that the Indian Labour Legislation has undertaken its commitment to the welfare of workers alone. Despite numerous legislation’s, the enforce-ability always seemed to lack in India, thus defeating the very purpose. Labour market flexibility is a significant factor that influences the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in any country. A need was seen for having some laws like a unified labour code and ensuring better enforcement.
This step has not only uplifted India’s rank in World Bank’s ranking of countries for “Ease of Doing Business”, but it has also been in furtherance of the ‘Make in India’ campaign by the Prime Minister. To make India a business-friendly nation in line with changing market conditions, initiatives have been undertaken by the government since 2014.
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 has come into force on March 28, 2017, and the significant changes brought by the amended Act, compared with the provisions of the earlier Act, are given hereunder:
Duration of maternity leave
- Increases the duration of the maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks which can be availed before eight weeks from the date of expected delivery (earlier it was six weeks prior).
- From third child onwards, maternity leaves to be for 12 weeks which can be availed six weeks
Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers
- Maternity leave of 12 weeks to:
- Adoptive mothers (adopts a child below three months of age);
- Commissioning mother.
- This period to be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the said mothers.
The choice to work from Home
- Employer to permit a woman to work from home if the nature of work allows her to do so and the same can be availed after the completion of her maternity leave for duration mutually decided.
Employer to inform the woman of maternity benefits
- Woman to be informed at the time of appointment, of the maternity benefits available, either in writing or electronically.
It is decided that now the employer will have to pay full wages for 26 weeks and henceforth, the amendments above may have an unfavorable impact on job opportunities for women. The amendment is silent on paternity leave. Also, the women who work in the unorganized sectors are not covered due to their unstructured employment conditions.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 has come into force on July 30, 2016. The significant changes brought by the amended Act are given as follows:
New Category of Persons Called “Adolescent”
- A person between 14 to 18 years of
- Prohibition of employment in any hazardous occupations and processes as specified in the Schedule.
Definition of child
- A person who is less than 14 years of age or of age given under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, whichever is more.
Prohibition of employment of children in any occupation and process.
- Prohibits the employment of a child in all occupations except where the child helps his family after school hours.
Regulation of work Conditions of Adolescent
- Management of work conditions and working hours limited to 6 hours a day with 1 hour of rest after every 3 hours of work and no overtime.
- The penalty for violation of the provisions of the amended Act:
- Imprisonment: 6 months to 2 years (earlier it was three months to 1 year)
- Fine: INR 20,000 to 50,000 (earlier it was INR 10,000 to 20,000).
Amendment in the Labour Laws has changed the scenario of the society. It not only improved India’s Ranking at world level but also help in furtherance of “Make in India” campaign successful.
- Labour Law Amendments 2016-2017* – Employment And Hr – India. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mondaq.com/india/x/627720/employee+rights+labour+relations/Labour+Law
- Section 5(3) Maternity benefit Act, 2017
- The biological mother who uses her egg to have a surrogate child.
- Section 5(4) Maternity benefit Act, 2017
- Section 5(5) of Maternity Benefit Act, 2017
- Section 11(A) Maternity benefit Act, 2017
- Section 2(a) The Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016
- Section 2(ii) The Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016
- Section 3, The Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016