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The Coffee Break Guide to Compliance – Vol. 19

Posted by: on 25 October 2018 in Amendments, HR, Human Capital Management, Talent Management

This post is part of the Coffee Break Guide to Compliance by Anandan Subramaniam. Please subscribe to the blog updates if you’d like to be notified of these posts. Please comment below with your doubts and queries.

The Coffee Break Guide to Compliance – Vol. 19 {Requirement of Crèche in an establishment and duties of an Employer}

With rapid industrialisation and urban development, people are increasingly migrating to cities. Every city in India is witnessing an increase in the number of nuclear families, and due to this, the concept of the joint family system is slowly diminishing. At the same time, with the Government of India’s sustained initiative on education and employment of women, we are seeing enhanced opportunities for employment for women in general. Women in almost every family have started earning for themselves and in support of their family. Due to the combination of these two phenomena, working mothers who were earlier getting support from relatives while they were at work, are now in need of a suitable crèche (daycare services) that will provide quality care and protection for their children.

The Need for a Crèche

While working mothers are performing their jobs, it becomes a part of the employer’s responsibility to have and maintain a crèche inside or around the premises, to address the child’s right to nutrition, health, play, recreation and safety. This gives confidence to the working mothers regarding their children’s safety and health.

Objective of having a Crèche

  • Fulfilling the requirements of recent amendments. The recent amendments in the Maternity Benefit Act and the Karnataka Maternity Benefit Rules include the provision of any-time care facilities for children of 6 months to 6 years of working mothers.
  • Provision of adequate and appropriate health status and nutrition to growing children
  • Support and stimulate the physical, emotional and social development of the children

The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government India, has a scheme to cover working women in the unorganised sector called the Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme for the Children of Working Mothers.

Women working in organised sectors avail the crèche facilities, as this was already mandated in various Indian Regulatory Acts such as:

  • Factories Act, 1948
  • The Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1996
  • Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
  • The Mines Act – The Mines Crèche Rules, 1966
  • Inter State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1979
  • Plantations Labour Act, 1951
  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) , 2005
  • And as an Allied Act, after recent amendment – Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

Among the various amendments, the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 which became effective from 1 July 2017, has made it mandatory for establishments employing 50 or more employee to provide crèche facility. ‘(1) Every establishment having 50 or more employees shall have the facility of crèche within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or along with common facilities. Provided that the employer shall allow four visits a day to the crèche by the woman, which shall also include the interval for rest allowed to her. (2) Every establishment shall intimate in writing and electronically to every woman at the time of her initial appointment regarding every benefit available under the Act.’

Subsequent to the amendment in the Maternity Benefit Act 2017 in mandating the crèche facilities for establishments, the Government of India has requested the States to enact Rules. In a first-of-its-kind Rule, following such direction from the Ministry of Labour, Government of India, the State of Karnataka made a crèche facility mandatory for establishments having 50 or more employees.

Among other provisions of the amendment, the salient features of the Rules are as follows:

Establishment of a Crèche

The Rules specify that the employer shall provide a crèche facility for children below the age of six years in accordance with the standards specified.

1. The crèche facility standards are as follows:

  • The crèche facility shall be located at a distance of 500 meters from the gate of the establishment and shall be conveniently accessible to the working mothers within the establishment. However, it must not be located in close proximity to obnoxious fumes or noisy activities within the establishment.
  • The Rules provide for the infrastructure requirements of the crèche. Accordingly, the crèche facility has to be provided with washrooms, kitchens etc.
  • The crèche shall be kept open during the day as well as night if women employees are working in the establishment.
  • Equipment such as beds, mattress, cradles, etc. as specified must be provided.
  • The staff of the crèche shall include a woman who must be the teacher-cum-warden who has qualification and training in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) or Teachers Course Higher or any other equivalent qualification.
  • The working hours of the crèche must correspond to the working hours of the mother.
  • The crèche has to maintain medical records as prescribed under the Rules.
  • Supply of milk and refreshment has to be made available to the children at the crèche as per the Rules. Additionally, the mother of the child shall be allowed four visits a day to feed the child.
  • The staff shall be provided with clean clothes while exercising their duty at the crèche.
  • The employer must also ensure safe outdoor play facilities for the children.

This specific amendment in the Rules of the Karnataka Maternity Benefit Rules is still to be notified. Notwithstanding, as per the amendment of the Maternity Benefit Act 2017, providing and maintenance of a crèche is mandatory for every establishment having 50 or more employees on their roll.

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