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    The benefits women are entitled to and the rights they can claim under maternity

    Employers are required to inform women in writing, electronically about the maternity benefits available under the Maternity Benefit Act upon their joining the workforce.The law allows women employees to work from home in addition to the maternity benefit period if the nature of work allows that

    The benefits women are entitled to and the rights they can claim under maternity

    3 min read . Updated: 12 May 2019, 06:05 PM IST

    Neil Borate


    An employer cannot dismiss a woman for taking maternity leave and cannot serve a termination notice to a woman on maternity leave which expires before the maternity leave ends (iStock)

    Employers are required to inform women in writing, electronically about the maternity benefits available under the Maternity Benefit Act upon their joining the workforce

    The law allows women employees to work from home in addition to the maternity benefit period if the nature of work allows that

    स्रोत : www.livemint.com

    The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

    The Maternity Benefit Act ensures the active participation of women in economic activities and ensures equal employment protection during pregnancy.

    4.8 (22)


    Comprising half the population, women make up a crucial chunk of the workforce. Employment demands the need to balance work and child-bearing and child-rearing responsibilities. The Constitutional framework endeavours to provide equality to women in all walks of life. In furtherance of this pursuit, the Maternity Benefit Act, going along the lines of the International Labor Organisation, aims to grant maternity protection to women. The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 and the very recent amendment of 2017 ensure active participation in economic activities post maternity. The gradual change that society has undergone demands that women have not become vulnerable during the fragile phase of pregnancy. Hence, the Maternity Benefit Act ensures that a woman has equal protection to employment during pregnancy so that it does not impact women, their productivity or economic growth.

    Scope and need for the legislation: National and International perspective

    The fundamental aim of the Act is to remove the impediments that women encounter when they entail on the journey of motherhood. The Act has the primary aim of enabling women to combine work and not compromise on their choice of having a child. Tracing history, Germany led the race by having maternity allowance by the end of the 19th century. International Labor Organization followed the concept and came up with the Maternity Protection Convention. In the Indian scenario, the need to have a maternity benefit legislation was recognized by N.M Joshi as back as 1929, when he introduced the Maternity Benefit Bill (No. 31 of 1924) in the Central Legislature. Before this, Women’s Association India had already led a quest demanding maternity rights in the Jamshedpur steel industry in 1920. Post that, the Central Government showed efforts by introducing the Mines Maternity Benefit Act 1941, Employees’ State Insurance Act 1948, and Plantations Labour Act 1951, which finally paved way for the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, which was enacted by the Parliament with the sole object to regulate the employment of women for a certain period before and after child-birth. The reasons that compelled the codification could be seen in the discrepancies with respect to the different periods of maternity leave as well as the qualifying period of service of eligibility for maternity benefit. Thereby, fulfilling a broader object of protecting dignity attached with motherhood by providing full and healthy maintenance of woman and her child during the period when she is not working.

    In the International Arena

    The United Kingdom grants 52 weeks of maternity leave with 6 weeks paid at 90% of the average weekly earnings.

    In the case of Australia, 52 weeks of paid maternity leave is provided.

    In South Africa, the condition is comparably unsatisfactory with 17 weeks paid with 60 per cent of the wages which is shared by the employer, employee and the government.

    In Singapore, the conditions are impressive with 16 weeks of full payment that is shared by the employer and the government via public funds.

    2017 Amendment

    The 2017 Amendment was brought in after the 259th Law Commission Report which states as follows:

    “The Maternity Benefit Act be amended in accordance with the forward-looking provisions in the CCS Rules, whereby maternity benefits should be increased from twelve weeks to 180 days. The provision of maternity benefits should be made obligatory on the State and not left to the will of the employers and should cover all women, including women working in the unorganized sector. It is suggested that the government formulates policy or guidelines laying down minimum specifications of paid maternity leave to women employed in the private sector.”

    The Amendment Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya. The Bill was introduced after the 44th Session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC) recommended enhancement of maternity leave period, which was reiterated in the 45th and 46th Session. This was coupled with the suggestions of the Ministry of Women and Child Development that aimed at improving the ambit of maternity benefits for women. As per World Health Organization Recommendations, there was a need to increase the duration of Maternity Leave to protect the mother’s and child’s health, especially since a child needs to be breastfed for the first 24 months to improve the survival rate.

    Analysis of important provisions of the legislation

    (i) Duration of maternity leave [S. 5(3)]

    The Act states that every woman shall be entitled to a maternity benefit of 12 weeks. The Act endeavours to increase the same to 26 weeks. Furthermore, as per the prior provisions, a woman could not avail of the said benefit before 6 weeks from the date of expected delivery. The Amendment changes this to a period of 8 weeks. In the case of a woman having two or more children, the maternity benefit will continue to be 12 weeks, which cannot be availed before six weeks from the date of the expected delivery.

    (ii) Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers: [S.5(4)]

    स्रोत : www.simpliance.in

    Maternity and Work in India

    Find out about Maternity and Work in India and how you can get Materity Leave, Maternity Pay, Maternity Benefits and your Maternity Rights

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    The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017, passed by the Rajya Sabha in August 2016, has also been passed by the Lok Sabha in March 2017.

    Under the new Law, maternity leave is raised from current 12 weeks to 26 weeks. The prenatal leave is also extended from six to eight weeks. However, a woman with already two or more children is entitled to 12 weeks’ maternity leave. The prenatal leave in this case remains six weeks.

    The Act also provides for adoption leave of 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child under the age of three months. A commissioning mother is also entitled to a 12-week leave from the date the child is handed over to her. A commissioning mother is defined as “biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in any other woman” (the woman who gives birth to the child is called host or surrogate mother).

    The Act further requires an employer to inform a woman worker of her rights under the Act at the time of her appointment. The information must be given in writing and in electronic form (email).

    Female civil servants are entitled to maternity leave for a period of 180 days for their first two live born children.

    Before March 2017, the law provided following rights.

    According to the Maternity Benefit Act female workers are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks (84 days) of maternity leave. Out of these 12 weeks, six weeks leave is post-natal leave. In case of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, a worker is entitled to six weeks of paid maternity leave. Employees are also entitled to one additional month of paid leave in case of complications arising due to pregnancy, delivery, premature birth, miscarriage, medical termination or a tubectomy operation (two weeks in this case).

    Source: §3-10 of the Maternity Benefits Act 1961, amended in 2017; §43 of the Central Civil Service (Leave) Rules 1972


    Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra Karnataka Uttar Pradesh Rajasthan Tamil Nadu Gujarat West Bengal


    No State laws and provisions under this topic.


    For everyone:

    Every woman employee, under a scheme established by the Maharashtra Employment Guarantees Act 1977, who has worked for not less than 150 days, is entitled to a medical leave of 30 days. The leave would be accompanied by a payment of the minimum wages prescribed.

    Source: Section 7(a), Maharashtra Employment Guarantees Act, 1977

    For all employees of Private Schools:

    For employees of private schools, half paid maternity leaves may be granted for a period of not more than 90 days (to employees with more than >1 and <2 years of service). Workers with more than two years of employment must be granted paid maternity leaves. In case of workers with less than one year of service, extraordinary leave may be granted for maternity purposes. The said maternal leaves may continue simultaneously with vacations. However, maternal leaves cannot be debited from other leave accounts.

    Source: Section 13 – 22 of the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1981


    No State laws and provisions under this topic.


    No State laws and provisions under this topic.


    For all  Pregnant Women:

    Employers will not knowingly employ a woman in any factory during the six weeks following the day of which she is delivered a child. Also, no woman will participate in any employment during the six weeks following the day of her delivery.

    Source: Section 4 of the Rajasthan Maternity Benefit Act, 1953

    For Pregnant Employees at Shops and Commercial Establishments:

    If any woman employed in an establishment who is pregnant gives notice either orally or in writing in the prescribed form to the employer that she expects to be delivered of a child within six weeks from the date of such notice, the employer will allow her, if she so desires, to absent herself from work up to the day of her delivery.

    Source: Section 24 Rajasthan Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958


    No State laws and provisions under this topic.


    A woman worker is guaranteed maternity leave under the provisions of the Maternity Benefits Act.

    Source: Section 18, Gujarat Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2019


    No State laws and provisions under this topic.


    The maternity leave is awarded with full pay on completion of at least 80 days in an establishment in the 12 months prior to her expected date of delivery. The maternity benefit is awarded at the rate of the average daily wage for the period of a worker's actual absence from work. Apart from 12 weeks of salary, a female worker is entitled to a medical bonus of 3,500 Indian rupees.

    Under the National Food Security Act 2013, pregnant women and lactating mothers are entitled to receive maternity benefit of at least Rs. 6,000. The Act further requires that subject to such schemes as may be framed by the Central Government, every pregnant woman and lactating mother will be entitled to free meals during pregnancy and six months after the child birth, through the local anganwadi, so as to meet their nutritional needs.

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