Hello, in this post you will have a quick guide to the Maternity Benefit Act. We will cover the following:
- What is maternity benefit act?
- Latest update
- Applicability of Maternity Act
- Eligibility and Benefits of the Maternity leave
- Maternity Benefit forms
What is maternity benefit act?
Maternity leave laws are needed in any legal framework to protect the rights of women employees. The rights include pay, compassion and certain privileges for the pregnant employee from the employer.
The Act also includes the education of women employees on their maternity benefits and rights at the workplace.
The maternity policy varies from one company to other so one need to inquire from their respective HR department for the details.
Some organizations give facilities to their women employees to work from home or arrange for a daycare facility in office premises for their employees.
Latest update – Maternity Benefit Act 2017
According to the latest amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act 2017, maternity leave is raised from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. The prenatal leave is extended from earlier 6 weeks to 8 weeks and 18 weeks post the childbirth.
Applicability of the Maternity Act
This Act applies to:
- Every factory, mine or plantation (including those who are belonging to Government)
- An establishment engaged in the exhibition of equestrian, acrobatic and other performances, irrespective of the no of employees, and
- Every shop or establishment wherein 10 or more persons are working on any day of the preceding 12 months.
Eligibility for Maternity leave
A woman is eligible to claim maternity benefits under the following conditions:
- Women employed in any establishment, whether directly or through any agency are eligible to claim maternity benefits
- The employee should have worked for her employer at least 80 days in the last 12 months
- A woman could request her employer to assign her light work to avail maternity benefits. This request should be made at least before 10 weeks of her date of expected delivery.
- The woman should produce a certificate 10 weeks before her delivery to the employer confirming her pregnancy.
- The employee needs to give written notice to the employer before 7 weeks of her date of delivery regarding her absence period.
Benefits of Maternity Leave
- Employees are entitled to get paid while they are on maternity leave
- The compensation is calculated on her average daily earning over a 3-month period as soon as the leave begins.
- The Act states that 10 weeks upto the date of delivery, no pregnant employee should be given difficult tasks that may affect both mother and child.
- The employee has the right to the creche facility when she returns to her job after the maternity leave if an establishment has more than 50 employees.
- Maternity leave is available for mothers adopting a new-born (less than three months old) and the duration is 12 weeks from the date of adoption. There is no provision for adoption of older children.
Maternity Benefit Forms:
|Form-2A||Claim for Maternity Benefit for Sickness|
|Form-13||Sickness or temporary Disablement or Maternity|
|Form-13A||Maternity Benefit for Sickness|
|Form-14||Sickness or Temporary Disablement or Maternity Benefit for Sickness|
|Form-19||Maternity Benefit for the Notice of Pregnancy|
|Form-20||Maternity Benefit – to produce Certificate of Pregnancy|
|Form-21||Maternity Benefit – Certificate of Expected Confinement|
|Form-22||Claim for Maternity Benefit|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Maternity benefit in case of miscarriage
In the unfortunate circumstance of a miscarriage, the employee is allowed 6 weeks leave from the date of the incident immediately following the day of her miscarriage or, as the case may be, her medical termination of pregnancy.
2. Maternity benefit for contract employee in India
Every woman employee, whether employed directly or through a contractor is entitled to receive the same benefits as to women working in any agency or an establishment.
3. Can a woman employee on probation apply for Maternity Leave?
Yes. A woman employee can apply for Maternity leave on a probation period if she meets the following conditions:
- She should have worked with the employer for 80 days in the last 12 months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery.
- The period of 80 days shall not be applicable if the woman has immigrated to the State of Assam and was pregnant at the time of immigration.
- For calculating the number of days on which a woman has actually worked during the preceding 12 months, the days on which she has been laid off or was on leaves with wages shall be counted.
- There is neither a wage ceiling for coverage under the Maternity Act nor there is any restriction as regards the type of work a woman is engaged in.
4. How many times can one take Maternity Leave?
There is no limit to the number of times one can take maternity leave as per the Act. But usually, companies reimburse hospitalization expenses for only 2 deliveries.