Being pregnant does not mean having to give up your job. Here are some of the benefits a woman is entitled to.
Kalpana was an executive with a medium-sized company. She had been working with the company for just under a year when she discovered that she was expecting a baby. When she joyfully shared the news with her boss, she expected him to be happy for her. However, she was surprised when she was called in for a
meeting a few days later and asked to resign from her post. The company did not think that she would be able to devote herself to her job anymore.
Knowing Your Rights
If you are employed in an organisation and then become pregnant, know that you are entitled to some rights. The Indian government has approved the Maternity Benefits Act in 1961. According to this act, a woman who is employed with any company is entitled
to six weeks of paid leave. Her employer must not give her any work for
six weeks, beginning from the day of delivery. In addition, after resuming work, she should not be assigned any difficult tasks or be given any work that involves standing for long hours.
You can decide when you want to take your six weeks of leave.
Generally, women opt for around two weeks before delivery and take the
rest after giving birth to the baby. Note that six weeks is the
minimum. You may be entitled to more leave, depending on your company policy. For example, many companies
allow a woman to take up to three months of maternity leave. In
addition, you may also be able to combine other leave like casual
leave, privilege leave, etc.
Informing Your Employer
The Maternity Benefits
Act is applicable to all working women, irrespective of the type of
organisation they work in. However, a woman can only be eligible to
claim maternity benefits if she has worked in the organisation for a minimum of 80 days before her due date.
Initially, it is all right to verbally inform your employer about your
pregnancy. However, to officially claim the leave and other benefits,
you must write a formal letter to the office. The letter should include
how long you have worked for the company, your expected due date, and the starting and ending dates of your leave.
The date of submission of the written notice to the company will depend on company policy. Some companies insist on submission before your delivery while others will allow you
to do so after giving birth. Even if you forget to give a written
notice, you are still entitled to all maternity benefits offered by your workplace.
As an employee, you have some responsibilities too. Firstly, you should know what the company policy is and what benefits you are entitled
to, well in advance. This can avoid any misunderstandings when you
apply for your leave later on. Secondly, give your notice letter well
in advance. It gives your office time to find someone to do your work.
It also gives you time to hand over your duties and minimising the
possibility of work-related calls while you are on leave.
A woman cannot be dismissed from the service of the company for being pregnant. Sometimes, the company may ask you to tender your resignation. You can refuse to do so. Remember that no company
can terminate your services on grounds of pregnancy. You are also not
supposed to be dismissed while you are on maternity leave. Your
employer also cannot change or modify your working conditions without
your approval during the leave period.
If you are dismissed from work for reasons
relating to your pregnancy, you can file a case in the Industrial and
Labour Court, under the Maternity Benefits
Act. The court will then initiate legal action against your employer.
Depending on the circumstances of your dismissal, you will receive the
appropriate monetary compensation. In addition, your employer may also
be jailed for a maximum of three months.
Becoming pregnant is not a career disaster. Using the Maternity Benefits Act, you can find the best option for your working needs.
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- The Indiaparenting Team
Was your employer supportive when you informed the office about your pregnancy? What benefits were you entitled to? Have you ever heard of the Maternity Benefits Act?
Hi, Well as far as i am aware women are entitled for 12 weeks of maternity leave as per the 1961 act.... & the same will hopefully will get amended & extended in future as per the recommendation in...
As per my knowledge under Maternity Benefit Act minimum 12 weeks maternity leave is allowed. It also says on medical grounds additional upto 4 weeks leave can be granted. Please check the provisio...
I was not aware that this Maternity benefits act existed. When I was pregnant, my company took good care of me. They gave me three months maternity leave and allowed me to go home little early if I fe...