The labour ministry will soon come out with regulations for setting up creche at workplace to give effect to the maternity law, under which all offices with 50 or more employees are required to set up boarding facilities for small kids. A notification on creche, which will define the location, area and other mandatory requirements would be issued shortly, officials told PTI. The enabling provision under 'The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017' has made it mandatory from July 1 to have creche facilities at establishments having 50 or more employees. "As of now, companies can take a leeway as we have not defined within what distance a creche should be opened by an employer. We are to bring that into the rules and then have to notify that. We should be able to notify that in a couple of months," a senior most official said. Even though the rule has already come into effect from the 1st of this month, many establishments across the country, including government organisations have not yet tendered this facility to their employees. The amended Act states that "Every establishment having 50 or more employees shall have a facility of creche within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or along with common facilities". The labour ministry will also do advocacy in case other ministries or departments have not still provided creche, the official said. "The notification is under process as of now.
For mines workers, the central government will frame the rules. For other establishments and private companies, the concerned state departments will bring out the notification on rules," said another official in the ministry. Asked about what action could be taken if companies defy the rules, the officials said there are stringent penal provision. "In case of mine workers, the central government will take appropriate action. While in other cases, the labour commissioners of the concerned states will take action," the official said. As of now, companies have a leeway in not opening the creche facility with immediate effect because of the lack of notification pertaining to the new rule, the official added. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 has increased the maternity leave from 12 weeks earlier to 26 weeks with effect from April 1, 2017 for working women with less than two surviving children, as also the provision of creche facility.
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