Adv. Himanshi Chanchal


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The majority of pregnant women today work, and despite the fact that governments around the world have adopted maternity benefit programmes, this paper's main goal is to identify the concerns and the extent to which the programmes are actually being implemented. With a few exceptions, the programmes are applicable to both the public and private sectors. The maternity benefit programmes truly help to safeguard the mother's and her child's lives in a healthy manner and aid in her maintenance through advantages like paid time off, earnings, and incentives. A woman can work from home and receive additional time if necessary. The employer and employee have mutually agreed to it. This will assist her in taking care.

Every working woman is qualified to file for maternity benefits. The perks a woman is entitled to receive during her pregnancy include paid time off (at the rate of the average daily wage for the period of her actual absence) and bonuses. Understanding "Maternity Benefits Schemes in India" is crucial for understanding employee equity at work as well as societal obligation to take care of pregnant women and their unborn children. The purpose of this maternity programme is to provide working women with benefits during and after pregnancy as well as excellent results. For female employees, it is fundamentally their right to be aware of the maternity benefits set down by Indian legislation.




In order to help women who are about to become pregnant, have already given birth, or have adopted a child adjust to the changes and new responsibilities in their lives, the term "maternity benefit" refers to paid time off from work as well as any other benefit. Given that women are socially and culturally expected to care for children and that only women are biologically capable of bearing children, it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that women have access to maternity benefits, including paid leave, as society gradually moves towards a more egalitarian structure. This makes it easier for the women to get employment and maintain their financial independence, both of which are necessary for living honourably.


Maternity benefits (Amendment) Act, 2017 in India:

Maternity benefit act implemented to protect and help female employees at the time of pregnancy by giving them maternity benefits such as being paid in her absence of pregnancy and bonus but it is only applicable for the establishment which has 10 and more employees. This below-stated establishment comes under the act:

 Factories

 Mines

 Plantations

 Government establishments

 Shops

 Establishments under the relevant applicable legislation

 Establishment notified by the central government


As per the maternity benefit act, a woman who has been working as an employee in the above-mentioned sectors at least 80 days within the past 12 months. They will be paid a salary on their daily wage average base and actual absence. This act became enforced by law since April 1st, 2017. Some specified benefits of this act are

Maternity leave for women and child:

The government has increased the duration of leave availability for pregnant women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks; the leave can be taken as a split basis, 8weeks before delivery and balance after delivery. The leave taken after delivery is to take care of the child. If the delivery leaves taking for the third baby, there are only 12 weeks of leave is allowed to take, the leave has been split into 6 weeks before delivery and 6 weeks after delivery.

The mother of an adoptive child is also eligible to get 12 weeks of leave if the baby is below 3 months and the woman who is using her egg to create an embryo planted in another woman, being the biological mother, she can get 12 weeks of leave.

Work from Home:

Women who are unhealthy after pregnancy are given an option to work from home. Depends on the nature of work and comfort, women can be allowed to do their work at home when they could not extend the leave. It actually happens according to the mutual agreement of employers and employees.

Child care-nursery:

This act is for allowing women to visit the nursery to take of her child during intervals. Women working in an establishment can be allowed to visit her child four times a day including intervals.

Overview of the Act

One of the first nations to offer maternity benefits to working women was India. The Maternity Benefit Act was created in India in 1961 and later modified. Currently, Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017 is in charge of it. The Maternity Benefits Amendment Act of 2017 gives qualified female workers the following benefits. First, section 12 of the Act states that an employee cannot be fired or terminated from her employment while she is pregnant. It makes such behaviour illegal, and the employer may face consequences. Second, the Act now includes more women who are deemed "eligible" or "qualified" to receive benefits from it. Section 2 of the Act states that all women who are "She should genuinely have worked in that particular establishment for a period of not less than eighty days in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery," says the law, in order for a woman to be qualified. Finally, the length of paid maternity leave has been greatly enhanced under the modified Act, going from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. This is a welcome break for working moms. Fourth, the Act requires that workplaces with at least 50 women employees provide a "creche" facility for women who work there. Kids are permitted four daily visits to the creche facilities. Also, it has included the choice of working from home for new mothers whose specific situations will benefit from it.

The modified Legislation now grants mothers who are expecting their third child 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. The earlier Act of 1961 did not offer any benefits to women expecting their third child. Adoptive and commissioning mothers are now covered by the revised Act, and they are eligible for 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. It has increased the amount of time that expectant mothers must be off before giving birth from 6 to 8 weeks, which is sure to have a big favourable impact on both the mother's and the child's health.

After outlining the benefits of the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017, it is necessary to look at its drawbacks and shortcomings. The lack of paid parental leave in the Act is a significant flaw in its drafting. It is the leave that has the flexibility to be used by any of the two parents. It furthers the patriarchal roles that women must play. It restricts the role of women as primary carers, for whom paid labour can only be done in addition to unpaid caregiving, which is considered to be their primary duty. The Act also contains certain ambiguities. About the amount of time moms can spend in the creche per visit, it is silent. whether or not men are permitted to enter the creche. 


Importance of Maternity Benefits:

These days’ women employees are equally working as male employees. Since many joint families have converted to nuclear family, both male and female is in the situation to work and improve the standard of the family. But the physical condition of women is different from men, women has to overcome the physical difficulties particularly pregnancy period. Benefits are needed to recover the health of her and taking care of her newly born child.


Comparison of leave period with other countries:


Leave Period



12-26 weeks



12-13 weeks



18 weeks



16 weeks



12 weeks



15 weeks



52 weeks


New Zealand

26 weeks



14 weeks


South Africa

16 weeks






Every working woman should have asked herself if she should quit her job or continue working during her pregnancy. The challenge there is deciding between her personal life and career. Hence, in order to assist mothers and their unborn children while they are pregnant and to improve the health of the mother and child, maternity programmes were created. A few days of leave for the father may provide him the time to provide the newborn with excellent parental care, and it provides the woman with a suitable setting in which to breastfeed the child.

Maternity benefits prevent the mother from quitting her job and prevent the child from developing a "dark side feeling," or a bad sensation that a youngster can get if it doesn't receive parental care at an early age. Canada and Norway are the nations that provide greater paid maternity leave, which helps them hold the top spot. When compared to other nations, India offers 27–47 times more leave and perks.

I have takenSingapore, Australia, China, India, America, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa to investigate and analyse the advantages of maternity that women receive when pregnant. According to the research, Singapore will soon offer 16 weeks of paid maternity leave along with other benefits. Working women in Australia are granted 18 weeks of maternity leave as well as various benefits. In China, maternity leave is granted for 98 days. India offers 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, with payments based on eligibility and base wage. Norway offers 49 to 59 weeks of leave, while Canada offers 35 to 52 weeks, with variations depending on the type of work and qualifying requirements. In some cases, Company pays for the pregnant women and in some cases, Government and policies pay them.

Other benefits include the ability to work from home, the possibility to feed infants while at work, enhanced income during the maternity leave period, and additional leave in the event that twins are delivered. According to a mutual agreement between the employer and the employee, all these advantages are available. If management refuses to provide maternity leave and perks, there is one opportunity to file a complaint.

Finally, maternity leave and perks are provided to ease the pressure of working while pregnant on women and to help them feel comfortable and confident during that trying time. It aims to assist female employees both personally and professionally.

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