Getting pregnant does not necessarily hamper professional growth of working women, today. Almost all companies value female employees as much as they do male employees. There are a lot of opportunities for female employees to grow in their careers. In order to help working women enjoy a balance both in professional and personal life, the government and the companies have come up with the Maternity Benefit Act. The Maternity Benefit Act provides fully paid leave to pregnant and lactating working women to take care of their health expenses and the newborn baby.
This benefit is offered to women working in both the private and public sectors in India. As per rules, it is mandatory for all the employers to provide maternity benefit to pregnant and lactating working women. In this article, IndianMoney will review how to file a complaint if your employers deny providing you the maternity benefit.
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1. Every female employee of an organization which has more than 10 employees is eligible to enjoy maternity benefits. This rule is applicable to both the organized and unorganized sectors like factories, shops, plantations, and mines.
2. In India, working women are eligible to get maternity leave of 26 weeks which is around 6 months. Before 2017, the maternity leave was only for 12 weeks.
3. This rule is applicable to both public and private sector employees.
4. Only 12 weeks of maternity leave will be provided to women who already have two kids.
5. This benefit is provided not only to pregnant and lactating working women, but even to women who adopt children. A working woman, who is planning to adopt a child below the age of 3 months, will get 12 weeks maternity leave.
6. There is also the work from home option under this act. Mothers can avail this option after completion of the 26 weeks leave.
7. Even a commissioning mother is eligible to get 12 weeks leave. The 12 weeks starts from the day she has received the child.
8. It is the duty of all employers to inform their female employees regarding the maternity benefits available to them.
9. All organizations with more than 50 employees must have crèche facilities. The mother can visit the crèche facility, at least 4 times a day.
10. The maternity leave can be taken only eight weeks before the due date.
11. Leave up to 6 weeks should be provided in the case of miscarriage or medical termination of the pregnancy.
12. Two weeks of leave can be taken in case of tubectomy operation.
To apply for maternity leave, the female employee must have worked for at least 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of expected delivery.
In case you are eligible to get the maternity benefit, but your employer denies providing the benefit, you must take the following steps:
1. Contact the HR department
In case your employer does not agree to provide the maternity benefit, you must first contact the HR department of your company and clarify if there is a misunderstanding. You can also go through the HR policies. If you are still not satisfied, you can take further steps.
2. Send a legal notice to the employer
If you have not received a resolution to your issue even after contacting the HR department, you can take legal action against them. You can send a legal notice to your employer by consulting any employment and labor lawyer in India. If your employer does not respond to the legal notice, you can take further steps.
3. File a case in the Labor Court
Even after sending a legal notice if your employer denies providing the maternity benefits, you can file a complaint against your employer for maternity benefit in the labor court.
If an employer does not provide the maternity benefits to female employees, he can be imprisoned for up to 3 months, along with a fine of up to Rs 5000. In case the employer sacks any employee just because he has to provide maternity benefits, he can be punished with an imprisonment of 3-12 months.
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