Industrial and Labour Law Maternity Benefits
Meaning of Maternity Benefits
Maternity Benefit is a payment that a woman during pregnancy or after childbirth.
There is an Act called “Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 which regulates the women employment of women during a certain period. The Act applies to every factory/establishment but does not apply to those factory/establishment on which Employees’ State Insurance Act is applicable.
Right / Eligibility to the payment of Maternity Benefits
Every pregnant woman in any establishment is eligible for Maternity Benefits at an average daily wage rate*, provided they have worked for minimum 80 days in preceding 12 months viz. 12 months before the expected date of delivery.
*Average daily wage rate means an average of the wages payable to the woman in the preceding 3 months before per maternity leaves or minimum wage rate fixed under the Maternity Act, 1948 or Rs. 10; whichever is the highest.
- The maximum period for which a woman is allowed maternity benefit is 26 weeks and out of these 26 weeks, only up to 8 weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery.
- A woman who legally adopts a child of less than 3 months than she should be allowed maternity benefits of 3 months.
- In case the woman dies during this period, the maternity benefit shall be payable only for the days up to and including the day of her death. In case the child is alive then complete maternity.
- In case of Miscarriage, 6 weeks leave with average pay shall be allowed.
- If the employer is liable for the maternity benefit under Section 5(3) or Section 6, then the amount shall be paid to the nominee or the legal representative.
Creche facility shall be there in the establishment having 50 or more employees within such distance as may be prescribed, either separately or along with common facilities.
The employer shall be allowed 4 visits a day to the creche including the interval normally allowed for the rest allowed to her.
Abstract of Act and Rules
Every establishment in which women are employed shall prepare an abstract containing the provisions of the Act and the rules made thereunder in the language or the languages of the locality shall be exhibited in a conspicuous place by the employer.
Penalty for contravention of the Act
The employer shall be punishable with imprisonment of not less than 3 months but which may extend up to 1 year and with fine which shall not be less than Rs. 2000/- but which may extend up to Rs. 5000/-, if any employer fails to pay the maternity benefit as prescribed under the act or discharge or dismisses such woman during her absence on account of her absence from work.
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