Maternity Act


Applicable to establishments employing 10 or more employees.

A woman who has worked for at least 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding for expected date of delivery will be eligible to avail the Maternity benefits.

It is applicable to all the women who are employed in any capacity directly or through any contractual agency.


Leave Allowed

  • Maternity leave available to the working women is increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children. This benefit could be availed by women for a period extending up to 8 weeks before the expected delivery date and remaining 18 weeks can be availed post childbirth.
  • A woman with two or more children will be entitled to only 12 weeks of maternity leave.
  • Maternity leave up to 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below the age of three months, and for commissioning mothers (who use a surrogate to have a child). The period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother.


  • It is mandatory on the part of employers to extend the benefit of enhanced maternity leave to those women workers who were already on maternity leave on the date of enforcement of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act,2017 i.e. as on 01.04.2017.
  • Those women employees who has already availed 12 weeks of maternity leave before enforcement of the Maternity Benefits (amendment) act 2017 i.e., 1st April, 2017 shall not be entitled to avail the extended benefit of the 26 weeks leave.

Creche Facility

Every establishment with 50 or more employees needs to mandatorily provide a creche facility within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed to visit the crèche four times a day.

Work from Home

An employer may permit a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned permits her to do so. This may be mutually agreed upon by the employer and the woman. This may be exercised after the expiry of the 26 weeks’ leave period.

The above amendments are effective from 1st April,2017, except those relating to creche facility which would come into force from 01.07.2017.

Maternity Leave Salary

Under the Maternity Benefits Act of 1961, the maternity leave salary is calculated based on the average daily wage for the three month period immediately before maternity leave starts. It includes Basic, DA, HRA, Conveyance, Medical Allowance, Other Allowance etc.

Leave for miscarriage

In case of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, a woman shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled to leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit, for a period of six weeks immediately following the day of her miscarriage or, as the case may be, her medical termination of pregnancy.

Leave for tubectomy operation

In case of tubectomy operation, a woman shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled to leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit for a period of two weeks immediately following the day of her tubectomy operation.

Leave for illness arising out of pregnancy

A woman suffering from illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery; premature birth of child miscarriage, medical termination of pregnancy or tubectomy operation shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled, in addition to the period of absence allowed to her under respective provisions of maternity act is allowed leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit for a maximum period of one month.

Payment of maternity benefit in case of death of a woman

  • Before Child Delivery: When a woman dies during this period, before delivering the child, the maternity benefit shall be payable only for the days up to and including the day of her death.( 8 weeks leave can be taken before the date of delivery)
  • After Child Delivery: When a woman, dies during her delivery or during the period immediately following the date of her delivery for which she is entitled for the maternity benefit, leaving behind in either case the child, the employer shall be liable for the maternity benefit for that entire period. If the child also dies during the said period, then, for the days up to and including the date of the death of the child


  • The law also states that from 10 weeks before women’s employee due date, she will not have to do arduous work, stand for long hours or be asked to do any other work that may cause problems. A working woman also has right to ask for light jobs during pregnancy for eg., jobs that does not require long standing hours or work in section where hazardous substances are not used as per maternity benefit act.
  • There is no number or limit mentioned in the Maternity Benefit act, as to how many times can one take Maternity Leave.
  • Dismissal or discharge of a women during the pregnancy is unlawful and such employer can be punished under Section 12 of the Act
  • If any woman employee, who is on maternity leave is found to be working in any other establishment for any period during the leave, then her claim to maternity benefit for such period is liable to be forfeited.
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