In this article, Arpit Srivastava put forth the employer’s obligation under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
Maternity Benefit Act came into force in the year 1961 with the objective of safeguarding the dignity of motherhood and providing healthy care to mother and her child. This Act ensures the rights of a pregnant woman will be looked after even when she is at home taking care of her child. Apart from the benefits provided to mother and her child, this Act also puts some obligations on the part of the Employer.
Meaning if employer under the Maternity Benefit Act
For the purpose of this Act, “Employer” would mean a person appointed by the Government for supervising and controlling employees or where no person then the head of department. In case of local authority employer would mean any person appointed for supervision of employees or chief executive officer of that authority. In any other case employer would mean any person having control over the affairs of the establishment like manager, managing director or any such person.
Obligations of Employer under this Act are discussed below
- No employer shall employ a woman within six weeks of her delivery or miscarriage.
- No employer shall allow a pregnant woman to do any arduous work which requires long hours of standing or likely to interfere with her pregnancy.
- An employer shall be liable to pay the payment at the rate of average daily wage for the period of her actual absence. This period might include any period preceding the day of delivery, actual day of delivery or any following the delivery. On contravening these conditions the employer shall be punishable with imprisonment for a period of three months which might extend to one year and with fine ranging from two thousand to five thousand.
- On receipt of the notice from any woman claiming maternity benefit under the Act, the employer shall allow the woman to absent herself from the work.
- The amount of maternity benefit for the period immediately preceding the expected dates of delivery shall be paid in advance to the woman on production of the proof that she is pregnant. That amount should be paid within forty-eight hours of production of such proof.
- If woman entitled to maternity benefit dies before receiving it then the amount shall be paid by employer to the person nominated by that woman for receiving such benefit.
- Employer shall provide the concerned woman with the medical bonus as mentioned under the Act.
- If a woman is absent from the establishment in accordance with the provisions of this Act then it is unlawful on the part of the employee to dismiss or discharge her from the employment. On contravention of this punishment for employer is imprisonment for three months and it might extend up to one year and with fine ranging from two thousand to five thousand.
- Employer is required to provide information regarding the names and addresses of the women employed, applications or notices received from them under the Act and payment made to them to the inspector appointed under this Act.
- Every employer shall maintain registers, records, and muster-rolls as may be prescribed.
- Every establishment having fifty or more employees shall have the facility of a creche (a nursery where babies or young children are cared during the working day) and it shall be the duty of the employer to allow four visits to the woman to the creche.
- Benefits available to every woman should be intimidated to her at the time of her initial appointment by the establishment in writing and electronically.
These are some of the obligations of an employer for ensuring better work environment for the woman. Employer is required to pay maternity benefit, allow nursing breaks, grant leave as and when required. The main objective of this act is to remove the fear of job insecurity from the minds of working women and ensuring them equal pay even during the time of their pregnancy.
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