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Maternity leave and benefits are offered to preserve the dignity of motherhood and provide for the healthy and complete care of the child and the mother when she isn’t working. Maternity leave and other benefits for mothers are becoming more common as the population of female workers increases. The Maternity Benefit Act, which was created in 1961, was intended to provide a uniform maternity benefit across the country. Amendment No. Amendment No. 29 of 1995, which became effective on 1-2-1996, allows female employees to be entitled to leave with wages for six weeks in the event of miscarriage, medical termination of pregnancy, or production of such proof.

What law applies to maternity?

The Maternity Benefit Act is applicable to all establishments that are factories, mines, or plantations, as well as any shop or establishment in which persons are employed according to any law governing shops and establishments in a state, where ten or more people are employed or were employed during the previous 12 months.

What safety and health measures should an employer take to ensure that women are safe during employment?

  • A woman cannot be employed in an employer’s establishment for six weeks after her delivery or miscarriage.
  • No woman should work in any establishment for six weeks following her delivery or miscarriage.
  • HTML6_ A request by a pregnant woman in this behalf shall not be made for work that is difficult or long-standing or that is likely to impair her pregnancy or cause miscarriage.
  • The period mentioned in the preceding clause shall be
    • One month immediately preceding six week, before her expected delivery date;
    • The pregnant woman is not entitled to a leave of absence during the six-week period.

What are the rights to payment as a maternity benefits?

  • A woman cannot be eligible for maternity benefits if she has not worked in an establishment from which she is claiming maternity benefits for at least 80 days within the 12 months immediately preceding her due date.
  • A woman may only be entitled to maternity benefits for a maximum of 12 weeks. The date of her expected birth must not be more than six weeks before the start of that period. The maternity benefit will not be payable if a woman dies during this time.

What can a woman employee do to claim her maternity benefits?

If a woman is employed in an establishment, and has maternity benefits under this Act, she must notify her employer in writing. She will need to state her claims for maternity benefits and the amount to be paid to her. The pregnant woman must state the date she will be absent work. This cannot be earlier than six weeks after the expected delivery date. A woman who has not given notice during pregnancy may do so as soon as she can after delivery. The employer must receive the notice and allow the woman to be absent during the period she is entitled to maternity benefits.

What provisions relate to the payment of maternity benefits in the event of death?

A woman who is eligible for maternity benefits or any other amount under this

Act dies before receiving such benefit. The benefit shall be paid by the employer to the nominee made by her/his legal representative.

Laws regarding leave for miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, and tubectomy operations?

A woman who has had a miscarriage/medical termination of pregnancy is eligible to leave with wages for six consecutive weeks. A woman who has had a tubectomy is eligible to leave with wages for 2 weeks after the date of the operation.


What’s the provision regarding the prohibition on dismissal of women employees in absence due to pregnancy?

Employers cannot discharge or dismiss a woman absent from work because she is not working under the Maternity Benefit Act. Or, the notice of dismissal or discharge is sent to her on such an occasion that it will cause her disadvantage in terms of conditions of service.

If the dismissal is due to any pre-approved gross misconduct, a woman can be fired or dismissed from her job. The employer can inform the woman by writing that she will not be entitled to the maternity benefit, medical bonus, or both. A woman who receives such notice within sixty days of the date of such communication can appeal to any authority that may be required. This authority’s decision on appeal is final.

What penalties or punishments are available for employers who violate these laws?


An employer who fails to pay maternity benefits to a woman entitled to it, or discharges or dismisses the woman due to her absence from work under this Act, is subject to imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to Rs. Or both.

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