India: Employers Finally Get Clarity On Creche Facility Guidelines

  • The Government has published draft Maternity Benefit (Crèche in the Mine Establishments) Rules, 2018 for public comments.
  • As per the proposal, the Mines Crèche Rules, 1966 shall mutatis mutandis be the rules under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, subject however to certain modifications.
  • Once enacted, all mine establishments covered by the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and employing at least 50 employees, will need to adhere to these rules with respect to providing crèche facilities to eligible employees.

The wait for guidelines on crèche facilities may soon be over! Given that the crèche facility provision was made effective on July 1, 2017, there was no clarity on the guidelines that employers needed to comply with, for providing crèche facilities to their employees.

By way of a notification1, the Ministry of Labour & Employment has proposed to extend the Mines Crèche Rules, 1966 ("Crèche Rules") to mine establishments covered by the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 ("Maternity Act") and employing at least 50 employees. After considering any public comments / suggestions that may be received within 30 days, the draft Maternity Benefit (Crèche in the Mine Establishments) Rules, 2018 are proposed to be enacted.

Please refer to our legal alert on recent amendments to the Maternity Act which introduced the requirement for provision of crèche facilities at the workplace: here and here.

Important provisions of the Crèche Rules that mine establishments will need to comply with, are below.

  1. Definition of Crèche: Crèche means a room of rooms with ancillary accommodation reserved for the use of children up to 6 years.
  2. Types of Crèches: Four types of crèches, Type A, Type B, Type C and Type D, depending on the number of women. The Schedule to the Crèche Rules provides description of these.
  3. Set Up Standards: The standards to be adhered to with respect to setting up of a crèche, such as:

    1. The crèche has to be adequately lit, properly ventilated and affording effective protection from all kinds of weather.
    2. The flooring should be of cement or stone and the ceiling should be at least 4 metres high.
    3. The interior walls should be lime-washed at least every six months while three years for the wood-work.
    4. Clean and sanitary conditions should be maintained.
  4. Distance of crèche: The crèche should be within 500 meters from the establishment.
  5. Opening and closing of crèche: The crèche should remain open at all times during day and night when female employees are working.
  6. Use of Crèche: The crèche should be restricted to children, their attendants, the supervisory staff and such other persons as may be related to or concerned with the children in the crèche. The use of crèche facility is proposed to be extended to children of temporary, daily wage, consultant and contractual workers.
  7. Staff at Crèche: Certain number of crèche staff need to be employed for attending to children in the crèche. A woman must be appointed as a crèche-in-charge provided she has successfully undergone training as a crèche nurse at an approved institution.
  8. Amenities: Certain prescribed amenities need to be provided in crèches including medicines for first aid, cradles, toys, drinking water, milk, etc.
  9. Medical arrangements: Monthly medical examination of the children at the crèche and that of the nursing mothers every two months, needs to be done by a qualified medical practitioner. Records of such examinations are to be maintained in prescribed formats.
  10. Provision of latrines and bathrooms: The crèche should have latrines and bathrooms with separate space for washing and drying clothes and linen.
  11. Maintenance of records: The crèche should maintain a register providing details of children attending the crèche along with a register for complaints.

Given that the title of the draft rules make a specific reference to 'Mine Establishments', it is currently unclear if they would extend to commercial establishments (non-mines). Mines Crèche Rules were prescribed in 1966 the applicability and relevance of it in present times may be questioned. There could have been some more effort put in to introduce crèche guidelines meeting today's standards and expectations, since the crèche provision in the Maternity Act was introduced almost a year ago.


1 Notification No. G.S.R. 163(E) dated February 12, 2018

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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