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  Maternity and Paternity Benefits:

These benefits could be availed by both married and unmarried women employed by one employer for more than 80 continuous days in one calendar year. The benefits are applicable to women both during and just after their pregnancy, during the early months of motherhood.

Maternity Leave A pregnant woman is entitled to 135 days paid leave (four and a-half months). She could, for instance, take two months off before the delivery, and two and a-half months after. She is entitled to receive her pay for the entire 135-day period before she goes on leave. The father is entitled to 15 days of paid paternity leave. Like his wife, he is also entitled to receive the pay for the entire 15 days before he goes on leave. A woman can reject certain types of work in the later stages of her pregnancy. The employer cannot make a woman do any heavy work in the last working month of her pregnancy. This includes work that is physically tiring, carrying heavy loads or any kind of work which can endanger her health or the health and growth of her child. When do I notify my employer? Notify your employer in writing, mentioning both the expected date of delivery of your baby and the date from which you plan to go on leave. You must also state that you will not take up any other employment during the time you are on leave. While you can avail of all maternity benefits even if you do not let your employer know in advance, it is better to let the employer know beforehand. Miscarriage and sickness In case the woman has a miscarriage, falls seriously ill during the pregnancy or delivers a premature baby, she is entitled to six weeks plus one additional month leave with full pay, from the date of the miscarriage, illness or delivery. Creche or medical bonus In cases where the employer is not able to provide the woman with facilities like a creche, she can avail an one-time medical bonus of Rs.250. Additional nursing breaks On rejoining work after having her baby, the woman is entitled to two extra breaks a day in order to care for her child. This benefit continues until the child is 15 months old. If you are not being paid the minimum wage, or you do not get the benefits mentioned, then you can complain to the local voluntary agency, Labour Officer/Inspector, or the Labour Commissioner.

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