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Maternity Benefit Eligibility
The Maternity Benefit Act originally provided maternity benefits of 12 weeks, out of which up to six weeks could be claimed before delivery. In 2017, the law was amended to extend the period to 26 weeks. Out of the 26 weeks, up to eight weeks can be claimed before delivery. However, you need not structure your leaves in this manner—you can instead take the entire 26 weeks of leave after the delivery. Also, these are maximum periods of claim and you can claim the benefit for a smaller period as well
Subject to the provisions of this Act, every woman shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity benefit at the rate of the average daily wage for the period of her actual absence immediately preceding and including the day of her delivery and for the six weeks immediately following that day.
Explanation. – For the purpose of this sub-section, the average daily wage means the average of the woman’s wages payable to her for the days on which she has worked during the period of three calendar months immediately preceding the date from which she absents herself on account of maternity, or one rupee a day, whichever is higher.
(2) No woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit unless she has actually worked in an establishment of the employer from whom she claims maternity benefit for a period of not less than one hundred and sixty days in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery:
Provided that the qualifying period of one hundred and sixty days aforesaid shall not apply to a woman who has immigrated into the State of Assam and was pregnant at the time of the immigration.
Explanation: – For the purpose of calculating under this sub-section the days on which a woman has actually worked in the establishment, the days for which she has been laid-off during the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery shall be taken into account.
(3) The maximum period for which any woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit shall be twelve weeks, that is to say, six weeks up to and including the day of her delivery and six weeks immediately following that day:
Provided that where a woman dies during this period, the maternity benefit shall be payable only for the days up to and including the day of her death:
Provided further that where a woman, having been delivered of a child dies during her delivery or during the period of six weeks immediately following the date of her delivery, leaving behind in either case the child, the employer shall be liable for the maternity benefit for the entire period of six weeks immediately following the day of her delivery but if the child also dies during the said period, then for the days up to and including the day of the death of the child.