Maternity leave in India is governed by a legislation called the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 which provides for mandatory leave for women employees at the time of child birth. Some key features are:

i. Maternity leave can be availed by female employees who have worked for a period of at least 80 (eighty) days at the company.
ii. For the purpose of calculating 80 (eighty) days on which a woman has actually worked, the days for which she was on holidays declared under any law for the time being in force to be holidays with wages shall be taken into account.
iii. The maximum period for which any woman shall be entitled to maternity leave is 12 (twelve) weeks, of which not more than 6 (six) weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery, and 6 (six) weeks post delivery.
iv. For availing this leave, the women employee shall have to submit her leave application, stating the date from which she will be absent from work, not being a date earlier than 6 (six) weeks from the date of her expected delivery. The application shall be accompanied by such proof as may be prescribed that the woman is pregnant.
v. In case of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, a woman shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled to leave with salary for a period of 6 (six) weeks immediately following the day of her miscarriage or, as the case may be, her medical termination of pregnancy.

With increase in women workforce many companies in India opt for higher than stipulated maternity leave. Urban Ladder is one case in point. The company has increased the maternity leave to twenty-six weeks (six months), for its full-time women employees. Additionally, employees have the option to avail additional three months of part-time work at an equivalent pay basis or additional three months of unpaid leave. “We have a healthy female to male diversity ratio of 38:62 and we believe this is a key catalyst to our business performance. We’ve noticed that career progression of many female employees coincides at the time when they decide to start families. Some of them decide to stop working leading to a leaky pipeline of high potential women at the middle of the pyramid. Revising the maternity leave policy is the first step towards ensuring we give them the required support they need to pursue their career goals while raising a family.” Said Geetika Metha, Vice-president – HR, Urban Ladder.

Recognizing the high-performing talent pool of the female workforce, companies are creating opportunities for women in leadership, bringing equality and varied skill sets to the table. Roles of women in organizations range from design, technology, marketing, sourcing, customer service among many others. Committed towards building an organisation with a diverse workforce, new-age companies ensure all employees, develop, adapt, innovate and progress supporting them through their careers.

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