Maternity Leave Policy in India

Posted On : August 16, 2023
Maternity Leave Policy in India
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Maternity leave is a crucial aspect of labor rights, promoting the well-being of women in the workforce and supporting their dual roles as mothers and professionals. In India, a country known for its diverse culture and rapid economic growth, the issue of maternity leave has received increasing attention in recent years. This article delves into the current state of maternity leave policy in India, highlighting the strides made, the challenges faced, and the progress towards creating a supportive environment for working mothers.

What do you mean by Maternity Leave?

The Indian government's plan for expectant moms in India is called "Maternity Leave." According to the Maternity Leave Act of 2017, pregnant female employees are required to take a set amount of time off work for the benefit of both the mother and the unborn child increasing the advantages for female employees as a result.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

The above-mentioned Act ensures that women receive maternity benefits, such as paid leave, a medical bonus, and a nursing break, if they have worked for an organization for at least eighty days. Additionally, the Act forbids employers from terminating or dismissing pregnant workers or making any other changes to their employment that would be harmful to them.

According to the Maternity Benefit Act a pregnant woman can take twelve weeks of maternity leave, however a female employee may only use six of those weeks prior to the due date. During their maternity leave, women are entitled to compensation at the rate of their average daily wage. Every woman is also entitled to medical bonuses and maternity benefits. In the tragic event of the woman employee's passing, the employer or organization is responsible for paying all debts in addition to maternity benefits to the woman employee's legal representative or nominee.

The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, which offers women full maternity benefits and safeguards their work stability both during and after pregnancy, is a substantial advance over the previous crude statute from 1928.

Benefits of Maternity Leave in India

Maternity leave is a mandated benefit granted to Indian women who are pregnant or just gave birth. It is meant to provide new mothers some time to rest after giving birth and spend quality time with their infants. Women who are on maternity leave can still work while taking time off to care for their families.

  • Health Advantages

    During their time off, new mothers can recuperate physically from giving birth and attend to theirpersonal health thanks to maternity leave.
  • Make a connection with the infant

    New mothers can spend time with their infants during maternity leave, which is crucial for connection and bonding. This period of a baby's life is crucial for developing a contented, healthy, and well-rounded child who will grow into a successful adult.
  • Job Safety

    Women can continue working during maternity leave while taking time off to care for their family, which can support career advancement. Maternity leave is a significant advantage for Indian women since it encourages gender equality in the workplace and supports new mothers' and their families' health and well-being.


Maternity Leave Policy Rules in India

The duration of the mother's maternity leave, the entire income paid by the employer, and additional perks are all covered by Indian law. According to the Indian Maternity Benefit (Amended) Act 2017;

  • A woman employee will receive full pay during her maternity leave. This rate is determined by her annual pay or daily wage for the three months prior to the request for maternity leave.
  • As stated above, the mother was required to have put in at least 80 days of work in her place of employment in the 12 months preceding the birth or adoption of the child.
  • Depending on whether this is a woman's first or second child, she may take up to 26 weeks off for maternity leave.
  • Out of her allotted 26 weeks of maternity leave, she may take up to 8 weeks off before giving birth.
  • The woman can choose to take her maternity leave at any time after giving birth or adopting the child; she is not required to spend it in this way. However, most moms decide to take some time off prior to childbirth or adoption, with the majority of maternity leave occurring after the mother meets her kid.


Amendments in Maternity Benefits Act, 2017

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 was made possible by the most recent changes to the Maternity Benefit Act. The revised maternity leave laws and regulations were adopted by the Rajya Sabha in 2016 and the Act was signed into law in 2017. These revisions take into account evolving family patterns, developments in the concept of motherhood, and improved maternal and paternal health.  Some of the significant changes to the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 include:

  1. In India, the previous paid maternity leave for women employees was raised from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
  2. The pre-natal leave period has been extended from six to eight weeks.
  3. A lady who has two children already and requests maternity leave for a third child or additional children is entitled to 12 weeks of leave.
  4. A woman employee is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if she adopts a kid who is under three months old.
  5. From the day the infant is given to the adoptive parents, commissioning, or surrogate moms are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.



Maternity leave policy in India has come a long way, offering women an essential opportunity to balance their professional and personal lives. The extension of maternity leave duration and the inclusion of adoptive mothers were significant milestones in the journey towards gender equality and women's empowerment. Nevertheless, there are still challenges to overcome, including expanding the coverage to informal sectors and changing societal attitudes towards working mothers.

By addressing these challenges and continuing to evolve the maternity leave policy, India can create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for women, ultimately contributing to the nation's socio-economic growth. To know more about maternity leave policies in India, it is advisable to contact a labour lawyer or family lawyer in India. However, if you are staying in Kolkata better contact with a Corporate lawyer in Kolkata for comprehensive information on maternity leave policies in India.



  1. What are the rules for maternity leave in 2024?

    The rules related to maternity leave 2024 are mentioned in the article above.

  2. Is maternity leave increased to 9 months?

    Currently, the maternity leave has been extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.

  3. What is the procedure for availing maternity leave?

    The process to avail maternity leave depends upon the HR policies of the organization. The applicant has to adhere to the rules accordingly and apply for the same within the specified time as per the compliances of the organization.

  4. Do you get maternity leave in India?

    Yes, you can avail maternity leave in India.
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