The term maternity benefits refers to the legal provisions for the benefit of a working woman during her pregnancy. First and foremost, it refers to payment for her period of absence. It also includes the leaves during or after the period of pregnancy.
In India, the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 regulates the benefits available to a pregnant working woman.
A recent amendment to this Act in 2016 has provided a wider range of maternity benefits to the working woman. For instance, the period of paid maternity leave has been increased to 26 weeks from the earlier period of 12 weeks. It also provides a work from home facility to a woman, if possible. But this amendment is yet to become official. Until it formally comes into force, the old act will continue to be applicable.
Who is Covered Under the Act?
The Act covers every woman who is working for wages in an establishment. The mode of employment may be direct as well as through as an agency.
What is Covered Under the Act?
It applies to whole of India and covers the following under the definition of employer:
- Mines, factories or plantations.
- Shops and establishments employing more than 10 persons at any time during the year.
- All other establishments notified by the State Government after approval of Central Government.
What are the Benefits Available under the Act?
The Act provides the following benefits to a woman:
- Advance payment of maternity benefit.
- Two nursing breaks every day until the child turns 1 year and 3 months old.
- Leave for any illness that arises out of pregnancy, deliver, miscarriage or premature birth.
- Six weeks' leave for miscarriage.
- Payment of medical bonus if the employer does not provide pre-natal confinement or post-natal care.
What is the Remedy Available under the Act?
Any woman who does not receive the benefits due to her can approach the Inspectors appointed under this Act to make a complaint. The inspector can issue orders for the payment of benefits due to her. Moreover, an employer is also liable to face imprisonment and/or fine if he violates the provisions of this Act.
How PocketLawyer Can Help?
If you are facing any kind of difficulty in getting the maternity benefits due to you, we at PocketLawyer can help. We will connect you with expert professionals. These professionals are experts in women welfare laws. You can post your requirement and they will assist you with the entire legal process at affordable prices.
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