Formally known as The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act of 2017, in human resources circles the law is known as “the crèche.” Translated it means childcare and daycare facilities.
Childcare benefits rival health care benefits for popularity in India, however it is the customary for babies and pre-school age children stay home with the mother or mother-in-law. This law is designed to help families where the mother decides to return to work.
The crux of the bill dictates that mothers must receive 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. After that a work-from-home option must be made available if possible. Also, employers with more than 50 employees have the duty to provide an on-site or near-site childcare facility, or a crèche. The law does not allow for outsourced childcare.
A crèche facility is typically the most challenging for employers to maintain. All the mandates for facilities is yet to be fully finalized, but these are the elements Prudent believes employers should expect:
- The facility needs to care for children ages six months to six years.
- There must be one crèche for every 30 children.
- The crèche has to be open throughout the time women are working. This includes at night if a mother is working a night shift.
- A playground must be close to the crèche.
- Crèche staff must meet certain education levels (for example in come cases crèche employees need to be 30-years-old).
- Mothers have the right to visit the crèche 4 times a day.
- Employers must ensure the safety of the children.
A solution many employers found is to locate their office(s) in an Information Technology (IT) office park that has private daycare on-site already.
Note that it is very hard to get admission to these facilities. Families need to make a deposit to reserve a place for their child early in the mother’s pregnancy. This is why Prudent recommends employers consider maintaining their own crèche and make it a recruiting differentiator.
This article provides more background information on the law.