Being a mother is not an easy task. It is a lifelong responsibility that cannot be delegated to anyone else. If you are a working woman, then of course there needs to be a lot of planning before you think of having a baby. The government though is taking a number of measures to safeguard the rights of women to see they are not harassed at their work place during their pregnancy. Your responsibility is to know your rights properly.
According to the Maternity benefit Act (1961), any woman who is working in any company for more than 80 days can avail several maternity benefits from the company. The period of 80 days should have been completed before the date of delivery.
So all you need to do is to see your company HR and ask for your maternity benefits. However, so that you are also aware, we present to you the rights that the Government provides to you during your pregnancy in a brief summary below:
- A woman can avail 6 weeks paid leave under the provisions of the Act.
- It is up to the woman to decide from when she wants to avail the leave. She can take the leave two weeks prior to the delivery date, without there being any restriction from the company’s side.
- Your company cannot force you to take any work from the date of delivery till the 6 weeks leave taken by you. Moreover, when you return to work after the 6 weeks leave, your company cannot delegate you any responsibility that requires a lot of physical effort or long hours of standing.
- The six weeks leave is set under the provision of Maternity Act but this can be extended if your company’s policies allow you to do that. Know the company’s Articles and Memorandum of Association for your benefit.
- You can also take other casual leaves or privilege leaves due to you by your company to increase the number of leaves. This added with your maternity leave can give you some more time to look after your child.
You have to make sure that you give a written notice to the company regarding the same. The notice should mention the time period you have worked for the company so far and also the date of delivery together with the information as to when you are planning to take the leave. This notice shall be given according to the guidelines set by your company. In several companies, it has to be served weeks before the delivery date whereas, in others, it can be given after the delivery.
A woman cannot be thrown out of the company solely on the reason of being pregnant. Your company can ask you for the resignation but cannot force you for the same. It depends on your discretion. You can sue the company for the violation of the provisions of Maternity Act under the Industrial and Labor Court. The court can grant you compensation and under extreme cases can order three months of imprisonment to the owner of the company for the violation of the norms.