Maternity leave is the type of leave where the lady in entitled for a certain period of leave either sometime before giving birth or after giving birth. The maternity leave usually is of 12 weeks or more. How much maternity leave you get depends on the government rules of the country that you are staying in and also according to the HR rules of the organisation that your are working with. Today we will be talking about the maternity leave in India. In India the maternity benefit act was passed in the year of 1961. Some changes were made to this act and the maternity leave bill was passed in the year 2017. This bill became effective from the date 1st April 2017. And the provision of creche facility was effective from the date of 1st July 2017.
Maternity leave benefit act 1961
According to the maternity benefit act in 1961 the pregnant women is entitled for 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. The payment during the maternity leave should be equal to her average daily wage of the women employee for the period of 12 weeks. The maternity benefit act 1961 protects the women’s employment during her recovery and bonding period with her baby. The period given over here is the maximum of 12 weeks.
It also states that about 10 weeks before the due date the woman should not be given any hard or tedious job. The women should not be standing for a long period of time.
The policy of maternity leave varies from employer to employer. The women employee should check regarding this with the Human Resources department of the firms that she is working with. The basic rule for the employee to be entitled for maternity leave is that she should have at least worked for 80 days for the employer in the past one year. The pdf format for the act
Maternity leave amendment bill 2017
On 9th March 2017 the lok sabha passed the maternity leave amendment bill. According to this bill, women working in any private or public sector will be entitled for the maternity leave of 26 weeks. This bill was approved by the president of India on 29th March 2017.
The union cabinet and the Rajya sabha headed by the current Prime Minister Mr. Narendra modi approved the amendments to the Maternity leave bill in August 2016. According to these amendment all women working in an organized sector will be eligible for double maternity leave period that is the maternity leave will get extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Here are some of the benefits that women will get due to these amendments
- A mother will get 26 weeks of paid maternity leave.
- This act is applicable to all organisations who have 10 or more employees.
- Women who adopt a baby below three months of age or has a child through surrogacy get 12 weeks of maternity leave.
- The women who are already on maternity leave and have completed certain period of their maternity leave will also get the extended maternity leave of 26 weeks.
- The maternity leave of 26 weeks is allowed for the first two children and for the third child it is 12 weeks
- This act is applicable for both private and public sectors
- After 26 weeks, a nursing mother should be given the opportunity of work from home depending on the rules and regulations of the organization
- Any organization having 50 or more employees should have the facility of creche.
- The mother should be allowed to make four visits to the creche.
- Women employee on probation can also get maternity leave
Check the details of the maternity amendment bill.
How are 26 weeks calculated for the maternity leave?
The main rule for the calculation of the 26 weeks of maternity leave is that the pregnant women can take maximum of 8 weeks before the due date and 18 weeks after the due date. It is upto the women how she wants to take her maternity leave. She can also take the entire 26 weeks after the due date. If a woman dies during the 8 week period before the due date then she is entitled for the maternity benefit only till that date. If a woman dies during or after giving birth leaving behind the child, then the employer has to give the entire benefit of the maternity leave. But, if the child also dies then maternity benefit will be available only till the date of the death of the child.
What are the other instances that women can take maternity leave ?
Women are entitled for maternity leave also during adoption and surrogate childbirth. In both the cases the mother will need to bond with the child. Also, women are entitled for certain amount of maternity benefits during miscarriage and many other medical issues during and after pregnancy
During miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, women is entitled to around six weeks of maternity leave from the day of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy.
If a tubectomy operation is performed then a woman is entitled for two weeks of maternity leave following the day of tubectomy operation. But, for all of the above cases a proper medical proof has to be submitted. Also, if the women is suffering from any health issues due to childbirth then she is entitled to increased maternity leave.
Maternity leave for government job employees in India
The women having government jobs in India are entitled to six months of maternity leave in India. Initially it was four and a half months, but, now it is six months after the circular issued in 2008. There are also allowed to take leave upto two years in phases for child care till the child turns eighteen years of age. But, now according to the 7th pay commission, only first one year leave is on full pay. The other year leave will be at 80% leave.
Other alternatives to the maternity benefit act
So, above are the maternity leave benefits that a woman gets while working in schools or corporate sector. But, what about those people who are having a low income job or are not working in higher bodies and firms. Well there are other options. This option is the Employees state insurance scheme. This is a self financed health insurance scheme for workers. When the employee in enrolled under this scheme the women employee has to pay 4.75% of the monthly income and the employer has to pay 1.75% from their side. The employee who can qualify for this should have the monthly income of Rs. 15,000 or less. In order to be eligible for this act, the women should have contributed not less than 70 days in two consecutive years.
Medical bonus during pregnancy and maternity leave
A pregnant lady is entitled for the medical bonus of Rs. 1000. The medical bonus can be increased to Rs. 20000 also. To claim Rs. 20000 bonus the company will not bear any medical expense.
In central government the medical bonus changes every three years. In 2008 the medical bonus was Rs 2500 which has increased to Rs 3500 in the year of 2011.
How to claim your maternity leave ?
In order to claim maternity leave and benefits a woman has to give a written application with proof. The woman has to write the application to claim for maternity leave. The HR of the company has to be contacted. The woman can give written application on the day of her delivery. It has to be specifically mentioned that the woman will not be working during the maternity leave. The process that is taken to approve the maternity leave application depends on the HR policies of the company.
Penalty to the employer for not providing maternity leave
The employer cannot relieve or discharge pregnant woman. Penalty of Rs 5000 is charged for not providing maternity leave. The fine for not providing free medical assistance is Rs 20000. The employer may get about 3 months in imprisonment for relieving woman of her duty.
Here are the rules and regulations that Indian government provides for maternity leave and the benefits under it.