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Maternity Benefit Act 2017 | Maternity Leave policy India

The Maternity Benefit Act, protects the employment of women during the time of their maternity and entitles them to a maternity benefit that is full paid absence from work – to take care of her child. As per the Act, to be eligible for maternity benefit, a woman must have been working as an employee in an establishment for a period of at least 80 days within the past 12 months. The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more employees. The establishments include factories, mines, plantations, Government establishments, shops, and others recognized under the legislation.


The duration of paid leave for a pregnant female employee is 26 weeks, including 8 weeks of postnatal paid leaves. In case of a complicated pregnancy, delivery, premature birth, medical termination, female employees are entitled to 1 month of paid leave. In the case of tubectomy procedure, only 2 weeks of additional paid leave is provided.


Section 4. Employment of, or work by, women prohibited during certain period: (1) No employer shall knowingly employ a woman in any establishment during the six weeks immediately following the day of her delivery or her miscarriage. (2) No woman shall work in any establishment during the six weeks immediately following the day of her delivery of her miscarriage. (3) Without prejudice to the provisions of section 6, no pregnant woman shall, on a request being made by her in this behalf, be required by her employer to do during the period specified in sub-section (4) any work which is of an arduous nature or which involves long hours of standing or which in any way is likely to interfere with her pregnancy or the normal development of the foetus, or is likely to cause her miscarriage or otherwise to adversely affect her health. (4) The period referred to in sub-section (3) shall be – a) at the period of one month immediately preceding the period of six weeks, before the date of her expected delivery; b) any period during the said period of six weeks for which the pregnant woman does not avail of leave of absence under section 6.


Section 9, 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. Section 10, Leave for illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery, premature birth of child, or miscarriage: A woman suffering 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.


Section 21, Penalty for contravention of Act by employers: If any employer contravenes the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both; and where the contravention is of any provision regarding maternity benefit or regarding payment of any other amount and such maternity benefit or amount has not already been recovered, the court shall in addition recover such maternity benefit or amount as if it were a fine, and pay the same to the person entitled thereto.

 

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