Can maternity leave be taken after delivery if applied?

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Yes, certainly.  Maternity leave could be availed even after delivery.  Every women who worked directly or worked through a contractor, for a minimum of 80 days out of 12 months prior to her expected date of delivery, in any factory, shop or establishment, shop or factory including government establishments are entitled for maternity benefit. Such minimum qualified period is not applicable for the women who immigrated to State of Assam if she was pregnant at the time of immigration.  The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 fixed statutory period for before and after child birth for maternity benefits.  But this Act is not applicable for the employees of factory, or other establishment that comes under the purview of Employees’ State Insurance Act, however if such employee is not eligible to attain maternity benefit under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, she would be entitled to claim the same under Maternity Benefit Act till she gets qualified under E.S.I. Act.  Under ESI Act, the rates and period for maternity benefit would be fixed by the Central Government.

Maximum period stipulated towards maternity benefit in the form of leave is  12 weeks, whether it could be availed before or after child birth subject to the condition that leave availed prior to expected date of delivery should not be more than 6 weeks.  For eg: If a woman employee availed 2 weeks prior to delivery, then she is entitled to maternity leave of only 10 weeks after the date of delivery.  Another example is that if a woman employee who had not availed leave prior to her delivery,  then she is permitted to take after delivery a total period of 12 weeks.   Therefore, it is stated that statute permitted the maximum period of 12 for maternity benefit, and according to her circumstances she could avail before or after delivery, a total leave not exceeding 12 weeks.

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The Act prohibits the employment of woman to work during the six-months period immediately after the date of delivery or miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy.

Please note that woman employee should issue notice in writing to the employer during pregnancy or at the earliest period of time after her delivery stating that she would be absent for the certain period (period to be mentioned ) and the maternity benefit in the form of payment to be given to her or her nominee.

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by Anitha Gutti