THE MATERNITY BENEFIT

DEFINITION:An Act to regulate the employment of women in certain establishments for certain periodsbefore and after child-birth and to provide for maternity and other benefits.

OBJECTIVE:The Maternity Benefit Act is provided to protect the dignity of motherhood by providingthe complete health care to the women & her child, when the woman is not able to perform her duty due to her health condition. In the modern world, as the participation of women employees is growing, so the need of the maternity & other benefits are common.

GUIDELINES:The woman should inform her employer (Manager/HR) Ten weeks before the date of her expected delivery. She may ask the Employer to give her light work for a Month. She should give written Notice about Seven (07) weeks before the date of her delivery that she will be on Maternity Leave. “No Employer” can knowingly employed a woman in his establishment during the Eight weeks following the day of her delivery or her miscarriage. When a woman absents under the provisions of this Act, it shall be unlawful for her Employer to “Discharge or Dismiss” her during or on account of such absence.

APPLICABILITY:Every establishment being a factory, mine, establishment belonging to Govt., shop or establishment within the meaning of any law in which ten or more persons are/were employed, on any day of the preceding twelve months. The State Govt may, with the approval of the Central Govt, after giving two months’ notice, declare that all or partial provisions of this Act shall apply also to any other establishment. The Act extends to whole of India. This Act is not apply where the ESIC Act is applicable.

THE MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT, 1961

    ELIGIBILITY:

No woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit unless she has actually worked in an establishment, for a period of not less than Eighty Four days in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery.DOCUMENTS (Registers): Every employer shall prepare and maintain such registers, records and muster-rolls and in such manner as may be prescribed.

BENEFITS UNDER THE ACT:

Every woman shall be entitled for Twenty Six weeks payment (of which not more than eight weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery) at the average daily wage rate (average wages of preceding three calendar months).

If a woman dies, the benefit shall be payable only for the days up to the day of her death. If the woman, having been delivered a child, dies during her delivery or immediately after delivery, leaving behind in either case the child, the employer is liable to pay the benefits for the entire period, but if the child also dies, then, for the days up to the date of death of the Child.

The maximum benefit period of a woman having two or more surviving children shall be twelve weeks of which not more than six weeks shall precede the date of her delivery.

Medical Bonus of Rs. 3500/-, if Medical Care does not provided by employer.

In case of miscarriage, Six weeks leave with average pay from date of miscarriage.

BENEFITS UNDER THE ACT: 

A woman who legally adopts a child below the age of three months or a commissioning mother shall be entitled 12 weeks from the date child is handed over to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother, as the case may be.

A woman suffering from illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery, premature birth of child, miscarriage, medical termination of pregnancy or tubectomy operation shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled to leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit for a maximum period of one month.

Recent major Amendments in the Act:

The benefit period increased from Twelve weeks to Twenty Six Weeks.

 If the nature of work is of such nature the woman may work from home, the employer may allow her to do so after availing the maternity benefit for such period the employer and the woman may mutually agree.

 Every establishment having fifty or more employees shall have the creche facility within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or alongwith common facilities. The woman shall be allowed four visits in the creche including rest allowed interval/s.

 The employer shall intimate in writing and electronically to every woman at time of appointment about the benefits available under the Act.