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Maternity Leave Policy in India
Jan 20, 2023

Guide To Maternity Leave Policy in India

The journey of motherhood is cherished by women. Nurturing a life inside of them can be a completely different experience. Once the child comes into the world, it requires constant care and attention. For working women who are pregnant and are due soon, this can be a tough task. Having to juggle the responsibilities of a job and impending childbirth can be stressful. Especially having to resume work after childbirth. However, with maternity leaves, working women can now focus on taking care of their child without the risk of losing their job. Here is more information about the maternity leave rules in India.

What is maternity leave in India?

In the year 1961, the Indian govt introduced the Maternity Benefit Act. Under this act, any women who were due were able to take up to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave after the baby was delivered. Back then, the number of women who were employed was lower. However, with changing times, more and more women started working, increasing the women workforce in India. Keeping up with this change in trend, the Maternity Benefit Act was amended in 2017 to keep in touch with the requirements of modern times. The number of weeks of paid maternity leaves was extended to 26 weeks among other changes.

Changes made to the maternity leave rules in India

The following changes were made in 2017 to maternity leave rules in India:
  1. Increase in the number of paid leaves post-delivery from 12 to 26 weeks.
  2. Introduction of work-from-home once the paid leave of 26 weeks is over. This is dependent on the employer and the type of work the employee does.
  3. Offices, where more than 50 employees are working, are required to have a creche facility available on the office premises. Women bringing their children to work must be allowed to visit the facility at least 4 times a day.
  4. Employers are required to educate their employees about maternity benefits to increase awareness about it.

Who is eligible for maternity leave?

Apart from expecting women, the following are eligible for maternity leave in India:
  1. Women who are planning to adopt a child are eligible for 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. This is applicable if the child is younger than 3 months of age at the time of adoption.
  2. If a woman has commissioned another woman to conceive on her behalf, she is eligible for 26 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  3. If a woman has decided to be a surrogate mother for someone else, she is eligible for 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  4. If a woman has undergone a tubectomy, she is eligible for two weeks of paid leaves from the date of her operation.
  5. Women who suffer post-pregnancy complications are eligible for one-month extra leave in addition to their 26-week leave.
  6. Women employed in government offices are eligible for 26 weeks of paid leaves

Things to keep in mind

These are the things you should remember as per the maternity leave rules in India 2022:
  1. To be eligible for the maternity leaves, you are required to complete at least 80 days in the 12 months before your due date. If you have completed working for that period, you are eligible for the leaves.
  2. If you wish to take a leave of a few weeks before your delivery, you can do so. Those leaves would be deducted from your 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, and you are allowed to take up to 8 weeks of leave.
  3. If you already have 2 children and are due with the third child, you can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
  4. If you suffer a miscarriage, you are entitled to up to 6 weeks of paid leave from the day of the incident.
  5. In addition to the paid leaves, you are also eligible for an incentive of Rs.3500.
  6. Under the National Food Security Act of 2013, pregnant and breastfeeding women are eligible for a maternity bonus of Rs.6000.
  7. Women working private sector should get the leave structure clarified with their employers as it may vary from one organisation to another.
  8. If an employer fires a woman during her maternity leave, even on the first day, would be held accountable by law. They would be charged either a fine of Rs.5000 or could go to jail for a year or both.

Can health insurance help you with pregnancy?

Among the many benefits of health insurance that you can enjoy, maternity coverage is one of them. Under this cover, you get financial assistance for pre-pregnancy tests and check-ups, hospital expenses during delivery, delivery charges, c-section delivery, and post-natal care among others. If you suffer from post-pregnancy complications such as post-partum complications, it would also be covered. *


This is how the maternity rules operate in India. If you are an expecting mother, it would benefit you to opt for health insurance with maternity cover for your and your baby’s wellbeing.   * Standard T&C Apply Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms and conditions, please read sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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