It is in accordance with the  Maternity Benefit Act 1961, which aims to protect the employment of women during the time of her maternity. It was amended as Maternity Benefit (Amendement) Act, 2017. The Act is now replaced by The Code On Social Security, 2020.

Maternity Benefit is benefit given to all employed women during the time of her maternity by her employer in the form of leave with full pay for 180 days (6 months ) irrespective of nature of employment, i.e., permanent, temporary/ad hoc or contractual basis. employers are required to inform women in writing and electronically about the maternity benefits available under the Maternity Benefit Act upon their joining the workforce. The law allows women employees to work from home in addition to the maternity benefit period if the nature of work allows that

No woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit unless she has actually worked in an establishment of the employer from whom she claims maternity benefit, for a period of not less than eighty days in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery. It is applicable only to those who work in a company with at least 10 employees.

An employer cannot dismiss a woman for taking maternity leave and cannot serve a termination notice to a woman on maternity leave which expires before the maternity leave ends. Also, an employer can’t change the terms of service to the woman’s disadvantage during her maternity leave. Further, maternity benefit and medical bonus will have to be paid to a woman who is discharged or dismissed during pregnancy unless it is for gross misconduct.

HOW TO CLAIM

To claim Statutory Maternity benefit, one must have to inform her employer that she is pregnant and will be off work because of the birth. She must have to tell him 28 days before she decide to start maternity leave. She must have to inform him in the form of writing (application for maternity leave ).

What a women can do legally if she is denied the maternity benefit (leave, pay, medical bonus etc. ) ?

No employer can refuse to grant maternity benefit to a women if she fulfils all the conditions to get it, if he do so, the women can go to labour court against him .The labor court can hold the employer liable to imprisonment for 3 months, fine the employer with an amount up to Rs. 5000, or both, as per the rules for maternity leave in India. She can also file ‘writ’ in the High Court in the form of ‘writ of mandamus’ to get her right.

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