Maternity Leave

Last updated on Jun 22, 2022

You are entitled to leave from work when you are having a child. However, this differs based on certain circumstances:

If you are pregnant for the first time or you already have one child

You can claim a maximum of 26 weeks of leave if you are pregnant for the first time or if you already have one child. However, you cannot take more than 8 weeks of leave before the expected delivery date. 1

If you already have 2 children

If you have 2 or more surviving children, then you can take 12 weeks of leave. For example, if a woman has 2 children already and is pregnant with her 3rd child, then she can take only 12 weeks of maternity leave. However,  only 6 weeks, can be taken before delivery. 2

Adopting a child/ Commissioning mother

A woman who legally adopts a child below the age of three months, or a commissioning mother, is entitled to maternity leave. The period of leave is for 12 weeks from the date the child is handed over to the adopting mother or the commissioning mother. 3
A commissioning mother is also entitled to all the benefits an employee could have post the delivery of the child, except the leave involving health of mother after delivery. 4

If you are suffering from illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery, premature birth of child, miscarriage, abortion or tubectomy operation, you will be entitled to an additional month of leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit. (( Section 10, The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.) You will have to submit proof of the illness for the same.

  1. Proviso, Section 5(3), The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.[]
  2. Proviso, Section 5(3), The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.[]
  3. Section 5(4), The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.[]
  4. P. Geetha Vs.The Kerala Livestock Development Board Ltd. 2015 (1) KHC 165; Sadhna Agrawal Vs. State of Chhattisgarh and Ors. 2017 Lab IC 617.[]

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Related Resources

How to claim Maternity Benefits?

The employer must pay you your maternity benefit before your delivery. Give your employer a written notice of the same.

Responsibility of Employers

At the time of joining the employment, employers have to inform women about maternity benefit available in the organization.

Who can seek Maternity Benefits?

Maternity benefits can be sought by expectant mothers, adoptive mothers as well as those recovering from an abortion or tubectomy.

Workplaces with Maternity Benefits

Maternity Benefits under law are applicable to almost all government and private establishments and offices.

Maternity Benefit in case of death of a Woman

An employer has the duty to pay maternity benefit even in case the woman dies as a result of the pregnancy.

Salary during Maternity Leave

Employers have to pay women 'maternity benefit' for the period during which they are absent from work as a result of their pregnancy.