What you need to know about maternity leave in India

What you need to know about maternity leave in India

Maternity leave is vital for the working mum to bond with her newborn and regain her form after experiencing the rigors of pregnancy. If you're unsure about what you're entitled to as a new mum, read on to find out more about maternity leave in India.

Pregnancy is one of the most fascinating experiences in the life of a woman. The prospect of having your mirror self in your arms is daunting. Yet it is an adrenalin boosting experience that is comparable to few other thrills that life can offer.

Perhaps that is why you need all the rest to prepare your mind and body for this exhilarating experience. Well, for those lucky enough to not work right through your baby’s growing years, nothing can be better than being there all the time. But for the working woman, a brief break from work is imperative to put you on the right track of motherhood.

Going on a maternity leave then is just what you need to prepare yourself for the childbirth and also to bond with your newborn.

Maternity Leave in India: What you can get
  • 12 weeks of focusing on your new role of being a mother. As per the Maternity Benefit act of 1961, a working woman is entitled to 6 weeks of paid leave prior to childbirth and 6 weeks after the child is born. So the bare minimum that you are entitled to is 12 weeks. Pamper yourself, eat your fill, sleep your heart out or just admire yourself at leisure for doing everything right.
  • Several companies allow working mums to club their accumulated leave along with the 3 months of maternity leave. Bargain with your HR department for some more cuddling time with your baby. Sometimes companies also allow their mummy employees to take a full six-month break from work. You will, however, have to find out exactly how much of that will be paid maternity leave.
  • The law related to maternity leave in India also allows you to a month of sick leave post-pregnancy in case you require medical attention or rest. You will need to submit a medical certificate from your doctor stating the requirement of extension of maternity leave on health grounds.
  • The law also protects a pregnant woman from strenuous labor 10 weeks prior to pregnancy. If you are facing any conditions which might harm your pregnancy, you are fully entitled to raise your concern about it.
  • Added benefits. Apart from the maternity leave, you should also speak to your HR department to know about the added benefits that you would get as a new mother. You would need to know about the medical insurance coverage that would cover your hospitalization bills and other health benefits provided as part of your health policy.
Do you get paid during the Maternity Leave in India?

You are entitled to an average daily wage for 12 weeks of your maternity leave in India. Any woman who has been employed for at least 80 days prior to her pregnancy is entitled for paid maternity leave under the law. The average daily wage is the average wage for 3 months immediately prior to your maternity leave commencement period.

You would have to give prior notice to your company regarding the period of your maternity leave. Once the leave is approved, you will be entitled to all benefits as underlined in the company’s policy.

Maternity Leave in India: What else should you know?

Talk to your HR right at the onset of pregnancy to discuss all the benefits that you are entitled to. Do not live under the mortal fear that you will lose your job if your company comes to know about your pregnancy. It is illegal for any employer to discriminate against pregnant women.

There have been cases where women have been forced to quit work under these circumstances due to a negative attitude from employers. In such a case, you are fully entitled to take legal advice as the law supports your position completely.

On the other hand, do note that your company is liable to cancel the maternity leave if it gets proof that you have been employed anywhere else during this period.

The maternity leave benefit has been introduced so that working women can enjoy the motherhood phase without any work related tension affecting her during this period. Use this benefit wisely so as to maximize its return for your good as well as for your child.


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Written by

Indu Roy