What is Maternity Benefit?
The maternity benefit is a payment to a woman worker at the rate of average daily wages for the period of her actual absence immediately preceding and including the day of her delivery and for six weeks immediately following that day.
What Benefits a Women get during Maternity Period?
- A woman can get maternity Benefits,
- During Pregnancy
- After Pregnancy (during the early months of motherhood).
- Government employed women are entitled for maternity leave with full pay.
- Other working women are entitled for 16 weeks maternity benefits.
- Even unmarried women are entitled for maternity benefits.
- Only those Government employees can avail these benefits, which have less than two surviving children.
- If a woman wants she can avail few days before the delivery and the remaining leave after the delivery, or she can avail the entire leave at the same time.
- The employer cannot make a woman do any heavy work in the last working month of pregnancy. She can refuse to do work which is physically tiring and involved long standing hours, caring heavy loads or any work which can endanger the proper growth of child, etc.
- A woman is entitled to 45 days leave full wages in case of miscarriage.
What are the Rights of a Working Women in Workplace? Know Everything in details.
Procedure to Seek Remedy
- Normally, for any grievance under the Act, the aggrieved woman may approach the Inspector appointed under the Act.
- However, where she is dissatisfied with the orders passed by the Inspector or where a larger question of law is involved she may approach the Metropolitan Magistrate or a first class Judicial Magistrate of the competent jurisdiction. However, such a case must be filed within 1 year from the date of commission of offence.
- Any office bearer of a registered Trade Union of which such a woman is a member or a Voluntary Organization registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or any inspector may also file a case in a court of law on behalf of the aggrieved woman.
- In some cases, the inspector may enter any place where women are working, in exercise of powers given to him under the Act and examine any registers, records or notices required to be maintained under the Act.
- He may examine any employee of the establishment and require them to give him information regarding particulars of employees, payments made and application or notice received from them. If he finds any discrepancies in the matter or payment of maternity benefits, he may direct such payments to be made.
- The woman should have put 80 days of work before in a delivery period of one year to be able to claim the benefits under the Act.
- It is the duty of woman claiming maternity benefit to give notice in writing in the prescribed form to her employer claiming her benefit and the period of leave. Such a notice may be given immediately after delivery also.
Read the Whole Book of Maternity Benefit Act for Completely free.
- Where she has failed to give such a notice, she may apply to the Inspector who shall make the necessary orders of payment under the Act.
- Appeal against the orders of the Inspector lies to the appellate authority which must be made within 30 days from the date of the decision of the Inspector is communicated to her. The decision of the appellate authority is final.
- If she is dissatisfied with the orders of the Inspector or the appellate authority or if a larger Question of law is involved, she may approach the court of the competent jurisdiction. The case will proceed according to the established procedure of law.
- Where the employer is guilty of payment of maternity benefit or dismissing or discharging the employee on account of her absence in violation of the Act, he is punishable with imprisonment not less than 3 months to one year and with fine for not less than Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000
- There is appeal against the decision of the inspector. In a court of law, the normal procedure of filing appeals may be followed.
- Alternative Remedies-/ Judicial; The Act itself has provided for an alternative judicial recourse by appointing Inspectors under the Act and for an appellant authority above him.
- Only where the complainant is dissatisfied with their decisions that she has to approach a court of law for judicial remedies and for instituting penal action against her employer. Certain questions of law like the period to be included while calculating the amount of maternity benefit etc. are also decided by a court of law.
- The aggrieved woman may also approach the registered trade union of which she is a member or a voluntarily social organization that may help fight her case.
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