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Global benefits insights - May 2023

May 31, 2023


Medical insurers must provide additional coverage for surrogate mothers and oocyte donors

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) issued Circular no Ref: IRDAI/HLT/CIR/PRO/01/05/2023 dated May 10, 2023, instructing all insurers to provide comprehensive insurance coverage for surrogate mothers and oocyte donors.

This is to ensure compliance with the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021 and the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Act 2021.

The following provisions are included under the Acts:

Under Surrogacy Act, Section 4 (iii)(a)(III) of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021, states that an insurance company (or an agent recognized by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) must provide the surrogate mother with coverage for postpartum complications for a period of thirty-six (36) months post-birth.

Rule 5 of Surrogacy (Regulation) Rules 2022, states that an insurance company is required to provide general health insurance coverage to the intending woman or couple for a period of thirty-six (36) months, to cover the surrogate mother. The plan must be sufficient to cover all expenses associated with pregnancy-related complications, as well as postpartum complications.

Under the ART Act, Section 22(1)(b) of ART Act 2021 states that the commissioning couple or woman may purchase an insurance policy for a period of twelve months, titled "Oocyte Donor Insurance", to cover the amount agreed by the commissioning couple or woman.

Rule 12 of ART (Regulation) Rules 2022 states that, in the case of the oocyte donor, the intended couple or woman will purchase general health insurance coverage for a period of 12 months, for the amount of insurance required to cover all complications arising from oocyte retrieval and to ensure it is sufficient to cover all expenses.

The Circular became effective immediately.



Introduces requirement for federal employers to provide menstrual products

Effective from December 15th 2023, federally regulated private and public sector employers must provide free menstrual products.

Menstrual products (tampons and pads) must be provided in their workplace’s washrooms, or in another accessible and private space controlled by the employer.

The initiative applies to all workers who menstruate, including cisgender women, non-binary individuals, transgender men and intersex individuals. Guidance — developed in consultation with employers — will be issued prior to December 15th 2023.



Unpaid leave entitlement expanded for parents

The Fair Work Legislation Amendment - Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill 2023, was introduced by the federal government on 29 March 2023. It is yet to become effective.

The proposed bill allows employees to take up to 100 days of unpaid leave (an increase from the current 30 days.) Employees will be allowed to commence Unpaid Parental Leave (UPL) at any time in the 24 months following the birth of the child (currently not later than the birth of the child).

Pregnant employees will be able to take a portion of their flexible UPL, beginning 6 weeks prior to the expected date of birth. This portion will be deducted from the employee’s overall entitlement to flexible UPL. The UPL can be taken in single, or multiple days.

It also allows parents greater flexibility on taking ULP; both parents will now be able to take UPL simultaneously with no restrictions (8 weeks currently). This proposed change aligns with those introduced to paid parental leave earlier this year.

Unpaid parental leave (UPL) is part of the National Employment Standards (“NES”) and will only apply following 12 months of service.

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