maternity leave

The importance and benefits of maternity leave in India.


The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act 2017 provides the following maternity leave benefits.

As a result of the legal structure of a business, various rules and rights are effectively incorporated, providing employee benefits. These rights are subsidies that make working for a long time worthwhile. The Maternity Leave Act of 1961 is one of them. As a result, it protects the interests of working women who want to start a family while balancing their careers and personal lives.

Pregnant women receive the time and resources necessary to care for themselves and their unborn children. Additionally, it enhances the opportunities for surrogate mothers and adoptive mothers. It is possible to take 8 weeks of paid leave before childbirth and 18 weeks after delivery, or you may utilize them all at once. Fostering or adopting a child younger than 3 months remains subject to the 12-week limit.

Companies with 50 or more employees must provide crèche facilities, and working from home is also an option. It is the right of female workers to be informed and educated about workplace benefits. An HR representative or a representative of a comparable grade must provide women with a copy of such information (benefits) in writing or electronically.

An individual who has undergone a tubectomy operation, had a medical termination or miscarriage, a late-term abortion, or has any ailment after birth may seek an extension of one month beyond the maximum allowed.

Regarding the Act’s limitations, only women expecting their first or second child can benefit from it. The rule is further restricted for families with a third or fourth child by requiring 80 days of continuous employment and a minimum wage.

Work-from-home option: maternity leave

An employer may allow a newly pregnant mother to work remotely from home under the bill’s provisions. If the nature of your employment permits you to work from home, this will apply to you. This arrangement may be made after maternity leave for a period that is mutually agreed upon between you and your employer.

Income option: 

Maternity leave is paid in full if you have worked for an organization for at least 80 days in the 12 months before your child’s birth. Maternity benefits are paid based on the average daily wage for the duration of your absence from work. In addition to her 12-week salary, a female employee is entitled to a healthcare incentive of Rs 3,500. Per the National Food Security Act of 2013, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are entitled to a maternity bonus of at least Rs. 6,000.

Who is eligible to apply for maternity leave?

To qualify for maternity leave under the Maternity Benefits Act of 2017, you must have worked for at least 80 days in the company. Additionally, you must have completed the specified 80-day term within the last 12 months. Unfortunately, if you have experienced a miscarriage, your benefits are limited to six weeks of recovery left. It is the right of a surrogate mother to take 12-week maternity leave.

maternity leave

Per the 2017 Indian maternity leave law, compensation during the leave period is determined based on daily income for the duration of the absence. Maternity leave in India was originally three months long, but after the 2017 amendment, it was extended to six months. Women who work in factories and establishments with ten employees are entitled to approximately six months of paid maternity leave in India. In India, however, a mother with two or more children is only entitled to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.

India’s Maternity Leave Policy

It is an incredibly serious and life-changing decision to have a child and involves many commitments. In addition to their emotional well-being, the couple’s physical well-being and resilience are also at stake. Taking personal responsibility for the children becomes more challenging when both parents work.

Stay-at-home mothers have an easier time caring for their children. Does that mean that working women cannot provide for their children when they need it? In recognition of women’s role as primary caregivers and nurturers, there are legal provisions for taking time off during and after childbirth.

Taking maternity leave has several advantages, including:

  • Because the woman is no longer working, she is in an ideal position to take care of herself and her baby.
  • It is also imperative to consider how paid maternity leave can alleviate financial strains that may otherwise result in chaos. Pregnancy entails several fees, including healthcare coverage for the mother for nine months and the newborn after that. A price list is also provided for prenatal care, labor, drugs, immunizations, and postpartum care.
  • Low-wage workers and single mothers greatly benefit from paid maternity leave.
  • Having a comfortable birth and postnatal period reduces the risk of postpartum depression in mothers and anxiety in babies.
  • Women can recover more quickly, sleep more deeply, and return to work more quickly if they take the necessary time off.
  • Moreover, women return with renewed energy and commitment to the organization.
  • The provision of maternal leave is particularly critical for staff retention.
  • In addition, it contributes to closing the pay gap between the sexes.

Indian law requires most businesses to provide health care benefits to pregnant women employees during pregnancy and postpartum to protect their rights. The Maternity Benefits and Welfare Act governs maternity benefits and welfare in India and applies to all companies and organizations with ten or more employees. 

The Indian Maternity Leave Act of 2017 provides 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. This is longer than France’s 16 weeks and comfortably exceeds those granted by Germany and Japan. In addition to India, the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland, the Slovak Republic, and the Czech Republic are the only countries that provide expectant mothers with a longer period of paid leave than India.

Maternity Leave: How To Apply?

You should address your maternity leave application to your manager at your workplace, even though there is no standard structure, format, or application process. Each company has its policy regarding the awarding of maternity leaves. Most of the time, you must apply at least two months in advance, stating that you need time off to adequately care for your newborn and yourself. You will be informed of what laws and regulations your company is subject to. 

On the other hand, prenatal leaves must be requested at least eight weeks before delivery. It is not a complicated procedure and will not take long to complete. As long as the company is kind, there are not many formalities, and things move quickly.

Maternity Leave Act standard rules:

It is prohibited for an employer to assign pregnant employees demanding responsibilities during the ten weeks preceding the birth of the child, such as working long hours.

She is prohibited from working for six weeks following delivery or miscarriage, as the company is responsible for her health and safety. An employer may not fire or terminate a female employee during maternity leave.

If an employer fails to comply with the Maternity Benefit Act of 2017, serious consequences may result. Employers who fail to comply with the Act are subject to a penalty of Rs. 5000/- or a year in jail.

Is there anything HR-related that should be included in the Maternity Leave Act?

  • HR departments must write a comprehensive Maternity Leave Policy as a necessary document. A pregnant employee should be informed in writing or by e-mail about her rights and how to exercise them.
  • The maternity Leave policy should be updated following government guidelines.
  • Pregnant employees are automatically excluded from performance appraisals.
  • Work-from-home provisions for female employees.

ALSO READ: What is an attendance management system? Are you interested in a free attendance management system? You can This software is available for

As an employed pregnant woman, you have the following legal rights:

During maternity leave, the company may not terminate your employment or issue a termination notice that expires before your leave’s end. The terms of your employment cannot be modified during maternity leave.

Likewise, if you are terminated or dismissed during her pregnancy, you will be entitled to maternity benefits and a medical bonus. This is unless the discharge or dismissal is for serious misconduct.

Employers’ challenges include – maternity leave

Working women in India have greatly benefited from maternity leave. On the other hand, the employer faces its own set of challenges.

  • It is the sole responsibility of the employer in India to cover the cost of maternity leave. Other countries split the cost between the government and the employer.
  • Assisting the pregnant employee on maternity leave with additional personnel. It is an additional expense for the company to train temporary employees.
  • In addition to hiring skilled personnel to operate the crèche, employers must provide crèche facilities as an additional infrastructure expenditure.

A majority of jobs in India are held by male employees, according to the survey. Women are less likely to be hired by employers than men due to the looming and mandatory costs associated with hiring a female over a male. Thus, women of marriageable age and newly married will not be seriously considered for leadership roles and promotions in the organization. There may be superior career opportunities for women who are not married or have already had two or more children.

SMEs and start-ups may hesitate to hire female employees if the government does not contribute to the costs of hiring female employees.

Government regulations mandate maternity leave policies, but some women cannot take advantage of them. Employers are reluctant to cover the entire cost of female employees out of their own pockets. To enable employers to attract female employees without fear of discrimination, the government should establish arrangements to assist firms with some of their expenditures.

Conclusion – maternity leave

Pregnancy is a natural phenomenon, and female employees’ cognitive or working abilities are not diminished during pregnancy. In a developing country that encourages girls’ education, all organizations with full government support should properly explore and implement maternity incentives and medical bonuses.

While there are both benefits and drawbacks to the current framework, expectant mothers can take care of themselves and their unborn children due to the legislation. Because a woman is under great stress after giving birth, benefits such as these may assist her in managing her professional and personal lives. Therefore, the ramifications of such a decision will be long-lasting.

Questions and Answers:

Would it be possible to extend the 26 weeks?

An extension is acceptable if a woman cannot fulfill her obligations due to unavoidable health issues. Then you will be required to provide the employer with all necessary documentation for their records. Each of these must be provided by a licensed medical professional. The length can be increased once the organization is certain. Since legislation only permits remuneration for 26 weeks of maternity leave, this may not be paid leave.

If I don’t return to work, what will happen?

According to the law, you are only permitted 26 weeks of maternity leave. Therefore, you may terminate your agreement or employment, but you will not be entitled to compensation.

can pregnant women be fired – maternity leave.

No, please! An employer cannot terminate the employment contract of a pregnant woman under any circumstances. Women must strongly oppose such conduct and be aware of their legal rights in the workplace. A company may not take such action and will be penalized under the modified Maternity Benefit Act.

 Can pregnant women work? If so, what limitations apply to pregnant women?

The statute applies to all female employees, regardless of whether they are employed full-time or part-time. Employees who are women are referred to as “women employed for payment in any company, either directly or indirectly.” Employees who have served in the institution for at least 80 days within 12 months of their estimated delivery date may qualify for the Maternity Benefit. Maternity leave and layoff days are included in the 80 days.

What establishments are covered by the Act?

Government employees in government establishments and those working in factories, mines, and plantations, including those owned by the government, are covered by the Maternity Benefit Act. Regardless of how many employees are employed, any shop or establishment where 10 or more employees were employed on any given day during the previous twelve months is eligible for the program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *