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Maternity Leave Policy In India - Rules And Benefits

Maternity Leave Policy In India - Rules And Benefits

We live in a modern era, where not only men but women are also an active part of the workforce of India. But one reality that can't change is natural phenomena that every woman has to go through, such as the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Just like every female, working mothers also have to be with their children and care for them, and even government is well attentive to this fact.   

And that's why the government of India has introduced so many laws and amendments to safeguard the women's community and their rights. Amidst those many laws, there is a specific amendment established for working mothers and "would be" working mothers, known as The Maternity Benefit Act 1961. 

This policy is specifically introduced for working women who are mothers or going to be mothers. Every working woman needs to be aware of this Act, as most women can't take advantage of this privilege because of their unawareness. 

When it comes to maternity leave policy, there are plenty of questions that come into one's mind like:

  • Who is eligible to take maternity leave?
  • When maternity leave can be taken?
  • Is maternity leave paid in India?
  • Does a private job employee get maternity leave?

And many more. 

To answer your questions we have done some research regarding maternity leave policy in India. But, let's first understand the "The Maternity Benefit Act 1961".

The Maternity Benefit Act 1961

The Maternity Leave Act was first introduced in 1961 by N.M Joshi. The main aim of this Act is to protect women and their employment rights during their pregnancy journey.

Initially, the prime reason behind the establishment of this Act was to safeguard the health of mothers and child by supporting them with financial support for medical and nursing care. But now, an add-on to the existence of this Act is to secure their employment and economic rights.   
Maternity leave in India refers to a paid leave benefit that a pregnant woman employee can take from her company for a particular period of time to take care of her newborn baby without losing their job. 

An expecting working mother can take leave before, during, and after the delivery. In 2017 there were few modifications made to the pre-established Act to accommodate the alternating social and economic dynamics in the world. 

The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act 2017 was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2016 and later on also got sanctioned by Lok Sabha in 2017. 

Some important adjustments done under Maternity Benefit Act 2017 are:

  • According to the revised law, the duration of leave has been increased to 26 weeks (182 days) from 12 weeks (84 days).
  • The parental leave of absence is also raised from 6 to 8 weeks. 
  • Although if the women already have 2 kids, she is eligible to take 12 weeks of leave only, and the same goes for parental leave with 6 weeks. 
  • If a working woman is adopting a baby under the age of three months then she can also take leave for 12 weeks. 
  • A commissioning mother is also allowed to take leave for 12 weeks, starting from the date the baby is entrusted to her. (A commissioning mother is a biological mother who uses her own egg to produce an embryo implanted in another woman who gives birth to the child and is called a surrogate mother). 

Maternity leave rules, benefits, and applicability:

The maternity leave is applicable to:

  • Organizations like government institutions, factories, mines & plantations, corporate establishments, or company where physical labor, skills, and performance is required.
  • Any shops and establishments with more than 10 employees. 
  • This law can be applied and enjoyed by women who have already worked for 80 days in the previous 12 months. 

Maternity leave rules and benefits under the Act are:

  • No company or establishment can ask women to work for at least 6 weeks from delivery or miscarriage.
  • The pregnant employee has the choice to divide the leave on the basis of pre and post-pregnancy period as per their condition. 
  • The payment of maternity leave is calculated at the rate of median daily wages for the period the leave of absence is taken.
  • An additional medical bonus is provided of Rs. 3,500, along with the 26 weeks and 12 weeks of leave absence.
  • Other than the leave policy, the Act also specifies that the current employer should not give any strenuous task to the expecting woman that can harm mother and baby both. 
  • The employer should be attentive to the health of the pregnant employee and make sure they are not being involved in any work for 6 weeks after the delivery, or in an unfortunate situation like a miscarriage. 
  • It also stated in the Maternity Leave Act that the employee should not be terminated by the employer during the leave period.
  • Even though this Act is applicable similarly all over India, the employees from private sector establishments should cross-check with their HR manager to get familiar with their policies. 

Bonus: How to write a maternity leave application (Sample)

A Maternity leave application can be sent to the employer either as a letter or an email.

Sender’s name


Date: xx-xx-xxxx



Receiver’s name,


Subject: Application for maternity leave

Dear Mr. /Mrs. (Name of the receiver),

I am (your name) working as (Job role) at (Department you are working on).

I am writing to inform you that I have been pregnant since last (No. of months), and now I am seeking to take allotted maternity leave of (No. of weeks/months) as suggested by the doctor.

I plan to start my maternity leave from (Starting date) and join the office by (Joining date), excluding any unanticipated issues concerning my pregnancy and delivery.

I hope this request will be allowed. Since I will be gone for a long period, I have assigned my responsibilities to my colleague (Colleague’s name). In case of any emergency, please contact me at (Contact Info).

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your positive reply.

Yours sincerely,

(Your name) 

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy is an instinctive process that every woman has the right to experience. It is a very joyous and happy moment of life for the mother and the whole family. With these Maternity leave benefits, every woman can experience this god's gift without quitting their job. 

But if you are a full-time mom and looking for work-from-home job opportunities, you should really check out Qween. We help women become financial independent by providing them flexible jobs along with upskilling training and mentorship opportunities.

DisclaimerThis blog is not intended nor should it be construed as a source of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should not be considered a replacement for similar materials.  


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