Maternity leave is a period of time when a woman takes a break from work
following the birth of a child. Maternity leave in India allows a woman employee
to take time off work when her child is born. Under the Maternity Benefit Act of
1961, female employees were only entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
The Maternity Benefits Act of 2017 increased the period to 26 weeks.
Furthermore, noncompliance with the laws and regulations carries a penalty.
Organizations can help mothers bond properly with their babies, care for their
child's physical needs, and observe all of his or her important developmental
stages by providing extended maternity leave.
What is maternity leave?
Maternity leave in India" is a paid leave of absence from work that allows
female employees the benefit of taking care of their newly born, retaining their
jobs, and also availing paid leave. The Indian government's Maternal Leave
program is a well-intended initiative for expectant mothers in India. The
Maternity Leave Act of 2017 establishes a period of time for pregnant female
employees to be on leave for the benefit of both the mother and the baby. As a
result, female employees will receive more benefits.
This Act also specifies the various types of maternity leave and
employer-provided benefits available to women in the commercial and public
sectors. This is a "fully paid leave' available to a working woman who is
pregnant or nursing in order to care for herself and her child. This 2017
amendment significantly modifies India's previous Maternity Act 1961 and applies
to enterprises and factories with ten or more employees, whether organised or
This allows them to care for the newborn baby while still working for the
organization. During this time, the mother is entitled to full payment. As a
result, maternity leave is a paid leave policy based on a set of criteria that
female employees must meet in order for their claim to be valid.
Laws relating to maternity leave:
Indian constitution The directive principal of the state policy states that "the
State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and
for maternity relief."
Maternity benefit Act:
assidious working women under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 are allowed to
take maternity leave for up to three months. This law also assures that
maternity leave is payable and that working women are entitled to payment. The
amount payable to her is equal to the rate of average daily wage for the period
of her actual absence.
Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 (ESIA) and the Central Civil Services
Rules, 1972 :Under the following scheme all non-season factories which run on
power with the capacity of more than 10 employees are covered. This code is
ensured The act was made in order to ensure a social insurance scheme and to
protect workers in the organised sector during an emergency,which includes
maternity to In this condition, if any miscarriage or any unavailability arises
due to pregnancy or prematurity, then the owner of such should provide a
shareholder to such a company .
International convention :-Members of international labour organization adopted
a resolution in an international convention on economic and social rights in
2004 adopted a resolution providing equal opportunity for women . At this
conference, a resolution was passed to give 14 weeks of maternity leave to women
. India being a member of ILO recognised that its maternity leave was somewhere
lacking with the conference and thus added an amendment in 2017 which was later
known to be as The maternity amendment bill 2017 .
Other Alternative Laws Similar Laws That Provide Maternity Benefit To The
In addition to the legislation of the Maternity Benefits Act of 1861, there seem
to be numerous statutes that address maternity benefits and wellness. Although
not regionally concentrated on writing prescriptions rights to women both during
and following pregnancy, these statutes contain separate areas that provide
insight in to the same in the frame of reference of the legislation.
The Employer State Insurance Act 1948:
This act is also known as crosspondence to the maternity benefit act because it
contains certain provisions which act to safeguard the health of the female
worker by the employer.
Under this Act:
Section 46 (1) (b) provides for periodical payments given to a woman employee
that is assured under this Act in the event of miscarriage, sickness,
operations, etc. arising out of pregnancy, premature birth, or miscarriage,
Section 56(3) of this Act provides for medical benefits to a woman who is
qualified to claim maternity benefits from her employer.
The Maternity Benefit Mines and Circus Rules, 1963:
Under this act, it prescribes various procedures and compliances to be followed
by employers of such establishments while dealing with maternity health of their
Central Civil Service Rules of 1972 This act is applicable to government
servants and provides maternity leave of 135 days to female government servants.
During his leave, he will be paid the leave salary which will be equal to the
pay of her working day while she was still working in the service. It also
provides for a maternity leave not exceeding 45 days in the event of a
miscarriage of the foetus.
Mines Act 1952:
Under this act, it provides maternity leave for those women that take part in
management, control, supervision, or direction of a mine or any part of the
mine. Under this act, the woman concerned can take 12 weeks of maternity leave.
The Factory Act 1948:
Under this act, it provides maternity leave for twelve weeks for women who work
in a factory or any part of the factory. Furthermore, it allows employers to
employ more than 30 women workers to create a familiar environment for the women
The Maternity Leave Incentive Scheme, 2018:
It provided reimbursement of seven weeks' wages to the employers who employ
women workers and provide maternity benefits to them for 26 weeks of paid leave.
However, such schemes are in the draft stage and require due consultation and
approval to become a full-fledged plan to increase the percentage of women
workers and employees in India.
Condition of working women in India:
While this remains the case in the large majority of households, growing
economic pressure is encouraging more women to enter the labour force, such that
households can still have a dual income. Women have served as an unknown entity
in the workforce in the past and since its inception, but this is changing.
Despite working, women are still seen as needing primary responsibility for
household work and child care.
This scenario is made even more difficult during pregnancy or when there are
children to care for. Few employees are sympathetic to this predicament and are
unwilling to be flexible with childcare, flexible with hours so that they can
care for the children, and unwilling to provide paid maternity leave. Because
many businesses and factories are insensitive to the special needs of pregnant
women, it is critical that there be a law in place to enforce certain ethics to
help women. These various laws were enacted to ensure that all workers have
access to maternity leave. In this article, we will look at the various laws and
The Maternity Benefit Bill 2017
In the recent amendment to the maternity bill of 1961, the government of India
proposed several changes, i.e., increasing the maternity leave period from three
months to six months (from 12 weeks to 26 weeks ). However, in the event that a
woman has more than two children, two or more than two children, the woman
worker will be subjected to only 12 weeks of maternity leave in addition to six
weeks of paternity leave, i.e., 18 weeks total.
An Important Feature Of The Bill:
Mrs. Bharti Gupta vs Rail India Technical
- As per the new amendment, it provides an adoption leave which can be
sanctioned upto 12 weeks from the taking of the child's custody. The act
also allows 12 weeks for commising mothers. Commissioning mothers are those
mothers who fertilize their eggs to create an embryo and implant it into
another woman for incubation. They basically conceive through a surrogate.
- The working woman who has taken maternity leave shall be given at least
80 days' pay in the 12 months prior to her expected date. The amount payable
shall be calculated by the average daily wage of the workers. Apart from
this 12-week salary, she is also entitled to a bonus of Rs 3,500. If no
medical care has been assigned by the employer, then she is entitled to get
a 1000 RS bonus.
- Female civil servants are allowed 180 days of maternity leave for their
first two born children. In the case of miscarriage, it allows nursing women
to stay at home for 26 weeks .
and... on August 9, 2005 :- In
this judgement, the Hon'ble Court held that in this case, the Court held that
the nature and provisions of benefits for women during and after childbirth had
been laid down in the Act. The Act is a social and benevolent law and, because
of its objective, it had to include the establishments of RITES as falling
within its purview.
RITES is an instrument of the State, as laid down by Article 12 of the Indian
Constitution and is thus, under the ambit of Part 3 of the Constitution. Thus,
RITES had to follow the provisions of the Act and did not have any leverage to
be exempted from such duties.
Challenges for the employer:
In terms of employer commitments, India is regarded as unfavourable. This is
because the current pregnancy discrimination regulation, the Maternity Benefit
Act of 1961, places the entire cost of paying wages to women claiming maternity
benefits on the employers. In the majority of countries, such financial burdens
are shared by the employer and the state.
However, this is not the method India chose. This indirectly leads to a decrease
in female employment in many establishments. In an attempt to improve such
conditions, the government of India, as stated, has drafted a scheme called the
Maternity Leave Incentive Scheme, 2018, in order to assist employers in
providing maternity benefits to women workers.
Several SMEs (small and medium enterprises) could indeed accommodate the six to
nine-week time off work that they are required to provide to their own
employees, as this would have a negative impact on the company's growth and
hiring cheap temporary workers to fill the vacancy caused by accessing maternity
benefits becomes somewhat unaffordable.
Employers may also confront the issue of women abusing the Act's measures for
their own benefit by claiming maternity coverage and then leaving their jobs
instantly after the maternity benefit period has expired, resulting in a
significant resource waste for the contractor.
In today's world, it is critical that women receive adequate maternity leave in
order to ensure not only their own but also their children's health. Because of
the inherent nature of maternity leave, it has become a critical issue that the
government has taken very seriously. In a very progressive move, they increased
the length of maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. While this is a welcome
change, there are still criticisms of the amendment, and it appears that India
still has many other issues to address in the maternity leave debate.