Ask Amma

Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

In News & Notes on 14 November 2013 at 8:00 pm
Many women in India are unaware of their rights under the Article 42 of the Indian Constitution and under the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961.

Recognizing the time required for breastfeeding, the Act provides for two nursing breaks for every nursing mother until her child is 15 months old.  This is in addition to the normal lunch break and other breaks that all workers get.  Every woman should defend her right to nursing breaks and see that employers follow the law protecting breastfeeding mothers and children.

A woman may use the nursing breaks to feed her baby or to express milk.  Mothers who need a nursing or pumping break after the 15 months would presumably fit it into the pre-existing breaks or take an unpaid break and make up the time accordingly.

Labour policies that recognize the role of breastfeeding represent an investment in the lifelong health of every individual.

Article 42 of the Constitution of India 1949

Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief the State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.

MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT, 1961
 
Breastfeeding ClipArt11. Nursing breaks
Every woman delivered of a child who returns to duty after such delivery shall, in addition to the interval for rest allowed to her, be allowed in the course of her daily work two breaks of the prescribed duration for nursing the child until the child attains the age of fifteen months.”
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  5. Hi, my wife is a state govt employee& v r having a 6 month old baby, external food has been started just now n my child still not adjusted to that, from today she has to report to duty. Few of her friends hv told her that there is 2 hours permission wil b granted for feeding women, is it true, if it is true pls let me the notice or pls forward a copy of the notice r circular. Or any other option is there other than this…..

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    • Dear Bhaskar, The Maternity Benefit Act is posted here on the Department of Labour site: http://pblabour.gov.in/pdf/acts_rules/maternity_benefit_act_1961.pdf
      See the provision for nursing breaks:
      11. Nursing breaks
      Every woman delivered of a child who returns to duty after such delivery shall, in addition to the interval for rest allowed to her, be allowed in the course of her daily work two breaks of the prescribed duration for nursing the child until the child attains the age of fifteen months.”
      Breastfeeding is the lifelong foundation for good health and also the best way to introduce food – the baby gets to taste everything the mother eats and the stomach gradually builds its capacity to digest it.

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  6. Is this nursing brake applicable to bank employees in kerala?

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  7. As a post graduate student of a private dental college in Bangalore, do I also get benefits from this act?my son is almost 4 months old and is totally dependant on me for food. But I’ve been pressured to return back and worried about my son’s health.he is aFter all a baby,and is allergic to formula. i have been told that I will have to repeat the whole year if I miss anymore working days. This just disappoints me so much . There are no provisions for pumping and nursing at my college.. how shall I defend my right to take care of my child and also complete my post graduation within the stipulated time course?

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    • Very good question. Have you tried talking to anyone in the college office? You should make them understand that as a professional college that aims to prepare people for the workplace they should abide by the norms and ensure that their graduates enter the workforce knowing their rights and raising the standards wherever they go. In fact, modern workplaces provide on-site day care to allow mothers employed in those offices to check in and feed babies as needed with less interruptions overall then if they babies were elsewhere.

      If all this sounds like more than what your workplace would be able to consider, then they should at least follow the minimum of allowing for 2 nursing breaks as stipulated by the Maternity Benefit Act. Being in the health care field, they should be at the forefront of implementing these rights.

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  8. my wife is himachal govt employee plz provide me office order copy of order of himachal govt plz

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  9. I’m nurse working in state government …I’m 7 months pregnant …and. we r working in three shift s…. Any provision to get a relaxation from night duty ..I’m facing lot of difficulty doing night shifts …our colleague s r forcing to do night duty …
    If any relaxation r govnt orders plz share

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  10. I am working on contract on DC Rates under the department of higher education,Govt. of Punjab. My baby is six months old.
    We are only 5 employees in our department. Does this Act apply on me?

    Is there any provision for Punjab Govt. Temporary employees ?

    Please please reply if anybody has any notification ragarding this.

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  11. Whether it’s applicable to nationalised bank employees..what’s the duration of breaks

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  12. 2 nursing breaks for how long? Duration please

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    • Thanks for writing Anu. The BPNI bulletin says that the nursing breaks should be “for the prescribed duration.” I would imagine You should be able to work this out with the employer – if it takes longer than 20-30 minutes one could make up the additional time by staying later, for example. Some tasks can also be done while nursing – in that case the time is not completely lost.
      In any case if you want to see the letter of the law, here it is:
      Each of the two breaks mentioned in section 11 shall be of 15 minutes’ duration. An extra sufficient period, depending upon the distance to be covered, shall be allowed for the purpose of journey to and from the crèche or the place where the children are left by women while on duty, provided that such extra period shall not be of less than 5 minutes and more than 15 minutes’ duration. If any dispute arises regarding such extra period, the matter shall be referred to the Competent Authority for decision.

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  13. lam a kerala state govt employ.I have a baby of 1year. I have an official training for 15days outside kerala. can I get any relaxation from this.if yz please specify rules

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    • My cousin had to travel for work while her baby was young, she got permission to take her child and an attender along with her. The attender looked after the baby during the workday, and my cousin could feed the baby at regular intervals. I think there was an ILO guideline that they followed to get this, I will try to find out what that was.

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