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A female employee is eligible for maternity benefit only after she has worked with the employer from whom she claims maternity benefit for a period of at least 160 days in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery.
Maternity leave is paid by the employer for the full period of leave at the rate of the employee's average daily wages. Employers are also responsible for providing pre-natal confinement pay and/or postnatal care for six weeks, but in lieu of these may offer a "medical bonus" of at least INR 3,500/-.
An employer cannot terminate the employment of any female employee while she is on statutory maternity leave. Any female employee terminated during her pregnancy will still be eligible for maternity benefits.
Miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy
A female employee is entitled to paid leave at the rate of maternity benefit of six (6) weeks if she experiences either of these, paid by the employer.
Employers are not allowed to hire or require a woman to work during the six weeks immediately following the day of her delivery or her miscarriage.
In addition to the maternity rights and leave provided above, if a mother experiences pregnancy-related illness (e.g. premature birth, illness related to delivery of child, miscarriage, medical termination of pregnancy or tubectomy operation) additional paid leave of one month must be provided at the rate of maternity benefit, paid by the employer.
An eligible employee is entitled to maternity leave of up to 26 weeks, of which not more than eight weeks may precede the date of expected delivery of the child, for up to two children. For the 3rd child, maternity leave is up to 12 weeks, of which not more than six weeks may precede the date of expected delivery.
After returning from maternity leave, a female employee must be allowed two breaks per day, for a period of time prescribed by her doctor, to nurse the child until the child attains the age of fifteen months.
Approximately 80% of companies provide maternity leave and/or pay above the statutory requirement.
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