New guidelines clarify what employers must do to comply with the crèche facility mandate in India's Maternity Benefits Act 2017, which requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide crèche facilities close to their workplaces. The guidelines aim to help employers manage and select crèche facilities that meet minimum child welfare and sanitation standards, but they don't address how employers will cover the costs of providing these facilities. Some states already have issued their own guidelines, which may not align with the national guidelines.
Key provisions in the national guidelines include the following:
- The crèche must be located either at the workplace or in the employees' neighborhood, or within 500 meters of either location.
- Crèche facilities must accept up to 30 children — aged between six months and six years —and be available to all female employees regardless of their type of employment contract.
- A crèche's opening time must align with the employer's, and crèches should be open for between eight to 10 hours.
- Crèches must comply with minimum building standards and norms.
- Crèches should offer age-appropriate curricula and provide regular health checks and immunization programs for children.
- Crèches must comply with minimum training criteria for crèche staff and minimum baby-to-staff ratio.
- Crèches must establish a monitoring committee that provides for parental representation.