Important changes in Labour Law that happened in 2017

February 03, 2018
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In this article, Deepanshi Sharma discusses the significant changes in Labour Law that happened in 2017.

Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017

Increased period of maternity leave

Women are now entitled to claim maternity leave for up to twenty-six weeks, instead of a period of twelve weeks assured earlier. The benefit can be availed from up to eight weeks before the expected delivery date, instead of the earlier limit of six weeks in advance.

However, this benefit is available only if the woman has none or one other living child. Women who have two or more living children are entitled to a leave of only twelve weeks which can be availed from up to six weeks prior to the expected period of delivery.

Maternity benefit for adoptive mothers and commissioning mothers

The maternity benefits are now extended to the mothers who adopt children below the age of three months and commissioning mothers who have a child through surrogacy. Such mothers are entitled to a maternity benefit of twelve weeks from when the child is handed over to them.

Mandatory créche facility and breaks

Every establishment having fifty or more employees is now mandated to have a créche nearby. Along with this, the mother has the right to visit the créche four times, including the intervals of rest allowed to her.

Mandatory informing of the maternity benefits available

It has also been made mandatory for the employer to inform every woman of the maternity benefits available to her under the Act at the time of initial employment.

Work from home option

The recent amendment also provides a possibility of the employer allowing mothers to work from home beyond the maternity leave period if the nature of the work permits such an arrangement. The period and conditions regarding it are to be based on mutual agreement between the employer and the woman.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017

Awareness measures to be undertaken by the government

The government is now required to undertake measures to make people aware of the laws against child labour. This is to be done through the following measures-

Conditions in which child may work without breaking the Child Labour laws

The new amendment to the rules adds additional conditions satisfying which a child may work without failing the child labour laws.

A child may help the family or family enterprise after school hours or in vacations but such help shall-

The child may also assist her/his family in any manner which is not incidental to any occupation, work, profession, manufacture or business for which the child (or any other person exercising control over the child) is paid. Such child may also not do any work which is detrimental to the growth, education and overall development of the child.

It is important to note that for the purpose of this rule only the following people are considered to be the family of the child-

Conditions of work for child artists

A child is allowed to work as an artist, without breaking the prohibition laws, only if-

To get permission, an application to the magistrate has to be made with an undertaking, a list of child participants, consent of their parents/guardians, and the name of the individuals who are responsible for the safety and security of the child.

The mentioned undertaking is valid only for six months. It should clearly state the provision of education, safety, security, and reporting of child abuse which should be in agreement with the guidelines made by the Central government, including the guidelines ensuring-

Responsibility of school headmaster or principal

The amendment also places responsibility on the school principal or headmaster to inform the nodal officer in case a child misses school continuously for more than 30 days without intimation. Nodal officers are decided by the District Magistrate [Rule 17C(1)(i)]

To know all the changes in the child labour rules, click here.

The Employee’s Compensation Amendment Act, 2017

Employer’s duty to inform the employee of her/his rights

The amendment places a responsibility on the employer to inform every employee of her/his rights to compensation under the Act. This has to be done at the time of the employment. Such information should be given in writing as well through electronic means in English, Hindi, or the official language of the place of employment (whichever is understood by the employee).

The Payment of Wages Amendment Act, 2017

Wages can be paid directly into the bank account or by a cheque

Along with the payment of wages in cash or currency, it is now also possible to pay wages to the worker by crediting the amount in her/his bank account or by a cheque.

Moreover, the government (central or state) may now come up with a list of industries or other establishments in which wages must be paid only by crediting it in the bank account or through a cheque.

Ease of Compliance to Maintain Registers under various Labour Laws Rules, 2017

Combined registers for various labour laws

In an effort to ease the compliance requisites of a number of labour laws, the ministry of labour and employment has issued rules to maintain combined registers for the below-mentioned acts-

In place of the different registers for these different acts and the rules under them, five combined registers are to be kept for all purposes. This can be done electronically or on paper. These registers include-

The format of these registers can be found in the schedule to the Rules. (click here)

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