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Important Section of Maternity Benefit Act 1961 and 2017 Amendment

What is the Maternity Leave?

Maternity Benefit in India gives a benefit to a pregnant woman who works in the establishment, this benefit is a form of paid leave during her maternity so that she can taking care of her newly born and self, and during maternity leave her job remains active.

A maternity leave allows to commissioning mother or any female who works in any establishment under section 2 of the Maternity Benefit Act 1961, This benefit encourages women to pay attention to her new baby during the initial months. It supports a lot to women and due to this benefit, a woman keeps balance her Job and her heath.  

The first Maternity leave Act was introduced in 1961 called the Maternity Benefit Act 1961, This Act enables women employees to get 26 weeks paid leave in which she can obtain up to 8 weeks leave before her expected date of delivery and rest 18 weeks post-delivery for taking care of the new-born. This Act applies to establishments as per section 2 of the Maternity Benefit Act 1916, Any woman who works under such establishment whether Contractual, Permanent, or associated with any agencies can get the advantage of the Maternity Benefit Act 1961. 

Some important amendments have enforced in the Year of 2017, and help a lot of women. In this amendment, a lot of benefits have given to woman employees. It encourages those women who give her time at the workplace as well as her home. 

Earlier, the maternity leave in India was for 12 weeks only, In 2017, Maternity Benefit Act was amended, Now maternity leave increases 12 to 26 weeks.

Import Section of Maternity Befit Act 1961 & 2017(Amendment)

Eligibility of Maternity benefit 

As per Section 3(o) A woman or Commissioning woman who works in any establishment whether Contractual, Establishment Payroll, or through associated with any agency 

As per section 5(4) of the Maternity Benefit Act 2017(Amendment) A woman who adopts a baby through Hindu Adoption or by any given law below the age of 3 months or a commissioning mother shall be eligible to get maternity benefit for twelve weeks from the date the baby is handed over to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother, as the case may be.

As per Section 5(2), No woman shall be permitted to maternity benefit unless she has worked in an organization as per establishment from whom she claims maternity benefit, at least 160 days must have worked within 12 months immediately from the date of her expected delivery:

Section 5(2) of the Maternity Benefit Act does not apply to A female employee who has immigrated into Assam was pregnant at the time of Pregnant,      

Explanation: - A female employee who has worked 160 days within 12 months immediately from the date of expected delivery.

Leave during Maternity

As per Section 5 of (3) Maternity benefit Act 2017(Amendment), 

The maximum period for which any woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit shall be twenty-six weeks, that is to say, 8 weeks up to and including the day of her delivery and eighteen weeks immediately following that day

If a woman dies during this maternity period, the maternity benefit shall be payable only for the days up to and including the day of her death: 

Provided further that where a woman born baby, and during her delivery she dies or during the period of 18 weeks immediately following the date of her delivery, leaving behind in either case the baby, the employer is liable to pay Maternity benefit for the entire period of 18 weeks immediately following the day of her delivery but if the baby also dies during the said period, then for the days up to and including the day of the death of the baby.

Work From Home

As per Section 5 (5) of Maternity Benefit Act 2017(Amendment), 

In a case where the types of work are assigned to a woman is such as that she can work from home, then the employer may allow her to do so after taking the maternity benefit for the before-mentioned period and on such conditions as the employer and the woman may mutually agree.’’

Work Prohibited during pregnancy

As per Section 4 of the Maternity benefit Act 1961, according to this section, Employment of, or work by, women prohibited during a certain period. – 

(1) No, any organization shall knowingly employ any woman candidate in any establishment during the six weeks immediately following the day of her delivery or her miscarriage. 

(2) No woman employee shall allow working in any establishment during the six weeks immediately following the day of the delivery of her miscarriage. 

(3) Without prejudice to the provisions of section 6, no any pregnant employee shall, on a request being made by her in this behalf, be required by her employer to do during the period specified in sub-section 

(4) any work which is of a hazardous nature or which is a long-standing job or which in any way is likely to interfere with her pregnancy or the normal development of the foetus, or is likely to be cause her miscarriage or otherwise to adversely affect her health.

Right of payment

As per section 5 Maternity benefit Act 1916 , the Right to payment of maternity benefit. – 

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, every woman employee shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity benefit at a daily average rate of the wage of actual her absence during maternity period immediately preceding and including the day of her delivery and for the six weeks immediately following that day.

Notice of claim for maternity benefit and payment

As per section 6 of the Maternity Benefit Act 1961, Notice of claim for maternity benefit and payment thereof. – 

According to Section (6)(1) of the Maternity Benefit Act 1961, Any woman employed in an establishment and entitled to maternity benefit under the provisions of this a written notice is required as per given format or form to her employer, stating that she is entitled to get maternity benefit and any other amount under this Act shall be paid to her or to the nominated person in the notice and that she will not work in any establishment during the maternity period for which she receives maternity benefit.

According to Section (6)(2) In the case of a woman who is pregnant, shall give an application stating that the date from which she will be absent from work, not being a date earlier than 8 weeks from the date of her expected delivery date.

As per Section (6)(3) Any woman employee who has not given the application or notice when she was pregnant may provide such notice or application as soon as possible after the delivery. 

According to Section (6)(4) Once the notice received by the employer, the employer shall permit such a woman employee to not come office from the establishment until the expiry of 18 weeks after the day of her delivery. 

According to Section (6)(5), Woman employee who is pregnant is entitled to get the advance amount for maternity if she gives documents to the employer as proof of her pregnancy,  and the employer shall be paid the rest amount which is due for the subsequent period within 48 hours after receiving such documents which declare her delivery of the baby   

According to Section (6)(6) if a woman employee who was pregnant, failed to serve notice then she will not consider as disentitle from the maternity benefit or any other amount under this Act 

if she is otherwise qualified to such benefit or amount and in any such case an Inspector may both of his own motion or on an application made to him by the woman, may order to pay such benefit or amount within as per mention in the order

Leave for miscarriage. 

As per Section 9 of the Maternity Act 1961, unfortunately, if she gets miscarriage in that case a woman shall provide proof of documents of such unfortunate as per the prescribed format, she shall be entitled to get leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit for six weeks immediately following the day of her miscarriage.

Nursing breaks. 

As per Section 11 of the Maternity Act 1961, Every woman who wedlock a baby and return back to her duty, apart from her interval, she will be allowed two breaks for nursing her baby as per prescribed duration in daily work until her baby gets the age of 15th Month.

Dismissal during absence or pregnancy. 

As per Section 12(1) Where a woman is in leave herself accordance with the provision of Maternity Benefit Act, Employer cannot discharge or dismiss her during maternity period if such employer does so that would be unlawful, 

As Section 12(2) (a) During pregnancy if a woman is dismissed or discharged from her service for other than misconduct, In spite her dismiss she will be entitled to get Maternity benefit act and Medical Bonus of Section 8

Where a woman is dismissed for any prescribed gross misconduct, the employer will give in writing to the woman and may deprive her maternity benefit or medical bonus or both  

As per Section 12(2) (b) Where a woman is deprived from Maternity Benefit Act or Medical Bonus or both, She can appeal to authority as per prescribed with 60 days of from the day of communication given by her employer. The decision of the Authority would be final whether the decision is in favour of a woman or not.   


Our purpose of this blog was to deliver some important section of the Maternity Benefit Act for the law student, CS and HR Profession