Maternity leave questions answered

Being a mother is every woman’s dream. It is a feeling that cannot be described in words. It is a time when a woman needs to take utmost care of herself and the child. It’s a difficult time for working women. However, the government and the companies offer a defined set of leaves known as maternity leave to the expecting women working for them.

The rules of these leaves may be different but all are designed for the comfort and wellbeing of the pregnant ladies. There are many doubts regarding maternity leave, which we will clear in this article.

What is maternity leave?

Maternity leave refers to the special privilege given to female employees in the form of paid leaves in order to take care of themselves and their newborns. Most of the countries have made this compulsory to encourage female employment.

What is the maternity leave law in India?

Maternity leave in India is currently guided by the Maternity Leave Benefit Act 2017. It is an amendment to the earlier Maternity Leave Benefit Act 1961. The latter proposed for 12 weeks fully paid leave for pregnant working women, offered by the employers, post-delivery.

However, the amended Act ensured 26 weeks full paid leaves to take care of themselves and the newborns, meanwhile retaining their jobs.

The above said 26 weeks leave has an option to be availed in two phases- 8 weeks before delivery and 18 weeks post-delivery.

Who is eligible?

Any expecting woman employee who has completed working 80 days in the last 12 months in the current establishment.

Can it be availed for the third child?

Maternity leave can be availed fully in case of the first and second child. However, in the case of the third child, the leave may get restricted to 12 weeks only instead of 26 weeks. However, there are cases where some of the states have denied maternity leave for the third child.

Are weekends counted during the leave?

Yes, the weekends, including Saturday and Sunday, get counted during the leave. Further, any holidays in between also get counted.

What is the basis of payment during the leave?

Paid leave is calculated based on the average daily wage of the female employee in the three months preceding her leave.

Is there any leave for Miscarriage?

Miscarriage leave can be availed for up to a period of six weeks following the day of miscarriage on submission of proof as may be prescribed. This leave is also paid based on maternity benefits.

Is there a rule for adoptive mothers?

Adoptive mothers can avail the leave from the day of adoption provided the child is below three months of age.

What is the rule for commissioning mothers?

The Act states a 12-week leave is to the biological mother, who imparts her egg to plant it into another woman for the formation of an embryo.

What happens in the case of critical illness post-delivery?

Pregnancy can be complicated sometimes. The Act ensures benefit for one month for women who are suffering from critical circumstances like premature delivery, miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy. This is in addition to the absence allowed to women under the Act.

What happens if I’m on maternity leave and get pregnant again?

You can avail all the benefits of the leave if you get pregnant the second time. All rights are the same as in the case of the first pregnancy leave.

What happens if I go for tubectomy during the leave period?

A woman can apply for a two weeks leave immediately after tubectomy on producing prescribed papers.

Can men avail maternity leave?

Men can avail paternity leave instead. To know more about paternity leave read this article:

Paternity leave | Paternity leave rules