MATERNITY BENEFIT Act, 1961

MATERNITY BENEFIT Act, 1961
• Sec 2(43) of SS Code, 2020: “maternity benefit”, in respect of Chapter VI, means the payment referred to in sub-section (1) of section 60.
• a payment or other allowance made by the state or an employer to a woman during pregnancy or after childbirth
• Sec 2(45) of SS Code, 2020: “medical termination of pregnancy” means the termination of pregnancy permissible under the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
• Sec 2(j) of Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and Sec 2(48) of SS Code, 2020: “Miscarriage” means expulsion of the contents of a pregnant uterus at any period prior to or during the 26th week of pregnancy, but does not include any miscarriage, the causing of which is punishable under the Indian Penal Code.
Sec 4 of Mb Act, 1961 and Sec 59 of SS Code, 2020: Employment of or work by woman prohibited during certain periods
(1) No employer shall knowingly employ a woman in any establishment during the six weeks immediately following the day of her delivery or her miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy.
(2) No woman shall work in any establishment during the six weeks immediately following the day of her delivery, miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy..
(3) No pregnant woman shall, on a request being made by her, be required by her employer to do during the period specified above, any work which is of an arduous nature or which involves long hours of standing or which in any way is likely to interfere with her pregnancy or the normal development of the foetus, or is likely to cause her miscarriage or otherwise to adversely affect her health.
Sec 5 of Mb Act, 1961 and Sec 60 of SS Code, 2020: Right to payment of maternity benefit
PNB v. Astamija Dash 2008
1-Every woman shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity biupoenefit at the rate of the average daily wage, for the period of her actual absence, that is to say, the period immediately preceding the day of her delivery, and any period immediately following that day.
2-No woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit unless she has actually worked in an establishment for a period of not less than 80 days in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery.
3-The maximum period for which any woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit shall be 26 weeks (inserted by 2017 Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act).
Provided that the maximum period entitled to maternity benefit by a woman having 2 or more than 2 surviving children shall be 12 weeks of which not more than 6 weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery.
Provided that where a woman dies during this period, the maternity benefit shall be payable only for the days up to and including the day of her death.
4-A woman who legally adopts a child below the age of three months or a commissioning mother shall be entitled to maternity benefit for a period of 12 weeks from the date the child is handed over to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother. (inserted by 2017 Amendment Act)
5-In case the work assigned to a woman is of such nature that she may work from home, the employer may allow her to do so after availing of the maternity benefit for such period and on such conditions as the employer and the woman may mutually agree.
Female civil servants are entitled to maternity leave for a period of 180 days for their first two live born children
Should Sundays be included?
B.Shah v. Labour Court, Coimbatore
12 weeks average salary shall include Sundays’ payment too even if there is no provision for working on Sunda.ys in the establishment.
Should the calculation of 160 days include half days?
Ram Bahadur Thakur Pvt. Ltd. v. Chief Inspector of Plantation
HC held that: it shall include those days when female workers have worked for half day. All such days shall be counted as whole days.
WRITTEN BY
RAGHAV JAGGA

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