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Explained: What is Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and its Salient Features

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A woman is required to have a minimum of 80 working days in 12 months of service. Or is she required to have minimum 80 days of service.

The Act applies to

Every factory, mine or plantation (including those belonging to Government),

An establishment engaged in the exhibition of equestrian, acrobatic and other performances, irrespective of the number of employees, and

Every shop or establishment wherein 10 or more persons are employed or were employed on any day of the preceding 12 months.

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What is Eligibility for Maternity Benefit

For a woman to be eligible to claim Maternity Benefit does the date of delivery have to be minimum 12 months after the date of joining?

A woman is required to have a minimum of 80 working days in 12 months of service. Or is she required to have minimum 80 days of service.

What is the rule regarding miscarriage

On submission of proof of a natural miscarriage, is the staff member entitled to 42 days of paid Maternity Leave?

We are required to refer the provision of Sections 6, 9 & 10 of the Act – As per Section 6 women are entitled for benefits of 26 weeks of which not more than 8 weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery.

What are the rules regarding discharge from employment during pregnancy?

The Act prohibits dismissal or discharge or variation in conditions of service to the disadvantage of any pregnant women, while she is absent due to reason under the Act. (Section12)

She can claim maternity benefit or medical bonus, even if discharged or dismissed during pregnancy. This shall not be applicable in case of dismissal for gross misconduct. (Section 12)

Payment of Maternity Benefit

Are employers supposed to pay Maternity Benefit like monthly salary or only after submission of the certificate confirming the date of delivery?

About payment we are required to refer the Section 6(5). The amount of benefits for the period preceding the date of her expected delivery shall be paid in advance and for the subsequent period shall be paid within 48 hours of production of such proof as may be prescribed.

Does the crèche facility apply to the 50 employees in each branch or company as a whole?

Company or a branch having fifty or more employees shall have the facility of créche within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or along with common facilities

Is there any restriction after claiming Maternity benefits?

There is no restriction about resignation immediately after enjoying the benefits

(The author, Prachi Mishra, is a Supreme Court lawyer and Additional Advocate General, Chhattisgarh)

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