The Maternity Benefit Act – FAQs
(Volume – 40 of Coffee Break Compliance Guide from Anandan Subramaniam)
Further readings on Maternity Benefit Act: Refer Volume 27 & 31 of Coffee Break Compliance Guide
Objective of the Maternity Benefit Act
It is a piece of legislation to protect the rights of woman employees. In addition to the privileges of the original Act, the Government of India, recently enhanced the benefit and other privileges.
Let us see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) under the legislation
- What are the rights available to woman employees under this Act?
The rights include, the benefit in the way of full salary during confinement, medical bonus, extended leave, a job which is not arduous in nature during Maternity period.
The employers’ need to disseminate information to the woman employees during their engagement in the organization.
The recent privilege extended to such woman employees are – work from home option and mandatory Crèche provision in/near the premises.
- Who is eligible to avail the benefit under the Act?
Any woman employee – who is on a permanent or temporary or probationary role, where she was employed during 80 days in the last 12 months.
- In such case, whether the woman employee engaged through a contractor is also eligible?
Yes. Every woman employee, whether employed directly or through a contractor is entitled to receive the same benefits as to woman working in any agency or an establishment.
- Is the benefit available to all establishments, if such employees are engaged more than 80 days or is there any restriction?
This Act is applicable for every Factory, Mine or Plantation. But for any Shop or Establishment, it is applicable only if 10 or more employees engaged in the previous 12 months.
- Whether all such woman employees, who completed 80 days in previous months are covered or is there any wage restrictions like ESI or PF or Gratuity or Bonus?
There is no wage restriction for availing benefit under Maternity Benefit Act.
- Is there any process for a woman employee to inform the employer, to avail the benefit?
Such woman employees shall produce a certificate, 10 weeks before her confinement, to the employer confirming her pregnancy.
Again she as to give a written notice to the employer before 7 weeks, on the expected date of delivery, enclosing a Medical certificate from the attending Physician.
- How many weeks the employee avail leave before and after confinement out of total 26 weeks?
According to the recent amendment, the prenatal leave is extended from earlier 6 weeks to 8 weeks and 18 weeks after the delivery (of childbirth.)
- How many times or for how many child birth, an employee can avail benefit under Maternity Benefit Act?
There is no limit to the number of times a female employee can avail maternity leave as per the Act. After 2nd child the Benefit is only for 12 weeks.
- Apart from delivering a child, is the benefit available for anything else?
Leave for adoption: The Act also provides for adoption leave of 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child under the age of three months.
Leave for miscarriage: In case of miscarriage, a woman shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled to leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit, for a period of six weeks immediately following the day of her miscarriage.
Leave for Commissioning mother: 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)
Leave for Tubectomy: Woman undergoing tubectomy operation is eligible for 2 weeks of leave from the date of such operation.
Leave for illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery, premature birth of child, or miscarriage: A woman suffering from illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery, premature birth of child or miscarriage shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled, in addition to the period of absence allowed to her under section 6, or, as the case may be, under section 9, to leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit for a maximum period of one month.