Becoming a mother is the most joyful experience of life and taking care of a child is 24×7 job that keeps you busy all the time. You need to cut down everything for this. But time has changed, family’s expenditure has changed, needs, lifestyle, education, inflation, cost of living and all if compared to the past, have undergone major metamorphism. To maintain that level, today’s women is no longer confined to the home but go out for job. Under this scenario, a pregnant woman, if working, can avail maternity leave but forced to resign. Most of the private companies force a pregnant woman to resign or dismiss her while she is on maternity leave.
So here is brief summary of all the things related to maternity leaves, Maternity Benefits Act 1961 that is your right and which you can avail. (But maternity policies in private organization may differ from company to company)
Maternity Benefits Act 1961
Any pregnant working woman is entitled to avail maternity leave according to the Maternity Benefits Act 1961. She is entitled to avail 6 weeks of leave before the due date, and 6 weeks after child’s birth. So, all in all a pregnant working woman can avail 12 weeks or 3 months of leave. Some organizations even give six months leave.
Even in case of miscarriage or an abortion, woman can avail 6 weeks leave as per law.
Important Provisions of the Act
The Act ensures that employee who is on maternity leave is not dismissed from the services during this period expect for the gross misconduct. Also the expecting female is entitled to avail the following benefits:
- Before ten days of expected due date the work burden should be lowered down
- During working hours, two nurse breaks should be given till the child is 15 months old.
- If the pregnancy has resulted in any illness, the female is also entitled to avail one month’s additional leave. But in this case she has to furnish the proofs for the same. In case of miscarriage and premature birth, this clause is applicable.
You can take a legal advice if your employer is either pressurizing you to resign or not abiding to the law properly.
Claiming Maternity Leave
Though it depends upon the HR policy the organization, but in general, pregnant woman has to give a written notice to the employer, asking for the maternity leave and benefits. One has to mention that she will not be working during this period.
To avail 6 weeks leaves before delivery, a certificate of pregnancy must be submitted at the workplace.
To avail leaves after delivery, another notice must be sent to the employer along with the certificate stating the birth of the child.
Some companies give health insurance benefits and other medical allowances. But again these vary from organization to organization. So your HR department is the right place to get the desired information on this.
You can avail one month’s additional leave incase of illness caused by pregnancy, after delivery or in pre-mature births. You have to submit the proof and you are entitled to wages during this period as well.
Maternity insurance is covered under group insurance and not given individually as maternity is not an unexpected risk. In most of the group insurance policies, hospital charges are covered. Routine monthly check-ups are not covered in group insurance.
Also many insurance companies provide family insurance.