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Last month, my girl friend called me and asked about the HR policies applicable in India, since I studied HR. But her query is too new and strange to me.
She is working in reputed Hospitality in senior level post. She is 6 months pregnant now and is worried about the Medical benefits & maternity leave issues. Every now and then she’s calling me to find out asap.
So guys! Is there any medical benefits & maternity leave facilities legally applicable (based on our HR policies & legal practice in India) even to the working unmarried girl getting pregnant?
Otherwise, what are the criteria she has to undergo in order to get all the facilities she can get?
Please share it with me because I need to get back to her soon with accurate details.
From India, Delhi
As long as her Marital Status is 'Single', she will be deprieved of all Maternity Benefits applicable under the Law. The only criterion to make her elligible for all the benefits is, getting married at the very first opportunity that she comes across..
From India, Bhubaneswar
His frens!
THanx 4 ur valuable replies.
Anyway, Mr. Samit's view seems to be quite a strict one huh...She might not get the benefits & facilities entitled for pregnant woman,. She don't wanna get married as she wanted to raise the child singlehandedly. I heard in western world they have a litle flexible rules & policies for the women.
Anyway, this is man's world i gues!!!Woman is always disadvantaged by nature too.
What is the opinion of Indian women??
From India, Delhi
Dear Niumai,
Your friend is covered under Maternity Benefit Act 1961. In my opinion, maternity leave has nothing to do with marriage of woman employee.
However, the right persons to give opinion are Mr Malik JS and Mr RN Khola. They are the experts of labour laws in India. I have written private message to them. Please wait for their comments.
Dinesh V Divekar
From India, Bangalore
you might have studies HR but you may not be knowing clause of maternity benefit act 1961.
every women who has worked more than 80 days in establisment is entitle for leave of 12 weeks with wages.no where it is written that she should be married.
condition is
she should be pregnent
she should have more than 80 days service.
so your girlfriend is entitlke all benefits under maternity benefit act.
js malik

From India, Delhi
It should not matter if she is single or married.She is still carrying. So the law would be the same. (in my opinion).
From India, Madras
Agree with Malik Ji...
What a strange view that unmarried girl is not covered under Maternity Benefit Act or ESIC.
I request to my citehr friends to first be sure about law and then give views as it leads to confusion in the mind of person who is posting the query..
Pls don't take it otherwise..
From India, Vadodara
Dear All

After going through the post & The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, the woman seems to be eligible to have maternity benefit from his employer as in the Act itself it is every where written the word ‘woman’. It is also no where written that the only married woman will be entitled to have the benefit under the Act. The benefit is to be provided on the birth of a child. The Act does not say anything about legal or illegal birth of a child. The entire format provided under the Maternity Benefit Rules shows that we are to write woman’s name along with either husband’s or the father’s name . This shows that in the certificates or other formats also we can very well write father’s name instead of husband name.
Section 3(o) of M B Act, 1961 also says that a ‘woman’ means a woman employed whether directly or through any agency for wages in any establishment.
In the mean time I have also inquired from one of our Welfare Officer (Woman), Haryana regarding such case & on this she have intimated that a prosecution was launched in the civil court of Sonepat (Haryana) in a similar case & the same was contested by the employer but while the case was in progress they accepted the violations/charges & pays the fine. Thus the case could not be finalized on merits.
Keeping in view the above discussion, we may say that this woman employee is entitled to have all the benefits under this particular Act.

Comments/opinion submitted as per the request of Mr. Dinesh.



From India, Delhi
Taking into consideration the fact that Indian goverment has approved Live-in relationship, there must be some law which would support her right to enjoy maternity benefits provided by her organisation.
Seniors please share your knowledge.
From India, Mumbai
lets see according to law
(No. 53 of 1961)1
An Act to regulate the employment of women in certain establishment for certain
period before and after child-birth and to provide for maternity benefit and certain
other benefits.
so govt is no objection abt her married or not its only abt woman maternity so be happy ur govt is liable for all benifit.....
From India, Delhi
Observing this bizarre discussion from Canada gives pause to wonder about the status of women in India.
<i>The entire format provided under the Maternity Benefit Rules shows that we are to write woman’s name along with either husband’s or the father’s name.</i> By father's name, does that refer to the father of the woman or the father of the baby? Why wouldn't the law just require the mother's name and baby's name on the documents? This all sounds a little too patriarchal and old-school.
From Canada, Surrey
All the benefits of Maternity benefit act are given to women employee either she is married or non married, when he become pregnant.
From India, Delhi
Act will see whether she is pregnant only. It will not see whether she is married or not. She will be eligible for all benefits. Regards V SESHADRI
From India, Madras
'Under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, women employees are entitled to maternity

benefit at the rate of average daily wage for the period of their actual absence up to 12 weeks due to the delivery. In cases of illness arising due to pregnancy, etc., they are entitled to additional leave with wages for a period of one month. They are also entitled to six weeks maternity benefit in case of miscarriage. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 also makes certain other provisions to safeguard the interest of pregnant women workers."

http://prsindia.org <link updated to site home>

One can see here that the Maternity Beneift Act can be availed by pregnant women/woman - it does not say married pregnant woman.

I remeber when studying for my PG Diploma in IR and Personnel Mgt , we discussed a case law relating to a similar situation. It happened in the state of Maharastra that a single unwed woman claimed Maternity Benefit which was denied by her employers ( then the Post and Telegraphs Department ) on the grounds thats she was unmarried. The Supreme Court ruled in her favour and said that while Paternity is always a matter of doubt , Maternity can never be and upheld her right to claim Maternity Benefit on the grounds that the law never spoke of a condition that the woman must be married to avail Maternity Benefit. Though I cannot remember name of the Case , i will try to find out and post it .

Further this is a discussion of a legal point , why are some people making it a moral debate .Its a completely personal decision of the lady in question.

And to the person from Canada who is reading this discussion , let her be assured that the status of women in India is good , if it was'nt we would not have so many women HR professional participating in such a discussion.


From India, Bangalore
hai Your friend is covered under Materinity Benifit act 1961. this act covers weather she get married or not and also after continous 2 yrs. service
From India, Delhi
Dear All,

As per the attached maternity benefit act, it is clearly mentioned the any woman can claim the benefits under the maternity benefit act.

It is not composure that the woman should be pregnant. Please go though the Form A on the page no 18 of the attached act. It is mentioned the "Name of Women and her father's (or, if married, husband’s) name. This clearly shows that, if the woman is not married then also she can get the benefit under the maternity act.

Please feel free to contact under sign, for any further clarification / assistants required.

Thanks & Regards
Kumar Gourav
From India

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dear as per your statement she is in senior post, so I think she is not coverred with ESIC.
So she is elligible for medical benifit & aswell as for medical leaves under maternity benefit act 1961.
as per act 1961 (sec 2 (2)) every women who is not coverred under ESIC is applicable for benefits under this act provided certain cases, and it is not mendatory that she is married or not.
From India, Gurgaon
Hi numai, There is no separate HR policy for pregnant women whether married or Unmarried. However, the clause of maternity benfit act of 1961 is applicable here
From India, Bangalore
Dear Ash

You are right and you should be MORE confident in your reply.

Such confidence will come, when you study the law in depth and thereby acquire knowledge and expertise.

Unless you have expertise and "better knowledge", you can not help others.

This is to answer your remarks once made in this forum, which I am quoting herewith :
  • "I believe the forum here is to discuss & help one another, and not to have a battle over "Look who knows better!"
  • I don't understand the relevance of your last lines in Testing someone's knowledge. Why?"

And I am also quoting my "last lines in testing someone's knowledge. Why?" :
"If we do not know the date of delivery, we are not sure about the dates regarding Maternity Leave. But the lady is still entitled to Maternity Leave Benefit, which are enshrined in the Act; and Govt. of India guarantees it.

Secondly, just a question to test knowledge of Maternity Benefit : "Can you answer me, if an unmarried woman or a widow, can get Maternity Leave under the Act or not ??"
I hope the "Why?" of yours is getting addressed now. The answer is :

YES, even if a woman is unmarried or a widow, she is sill entitled for Maternity Benefit.

As many members have correctly pointed out, MBA 1961 does not specify the marital status of the concerned woman as the objective of the Act is to protect the dignity of motherhood by providing for the full and healthy maintenance of women and her child.

It is an Act that celebrates the joy and recognizes the pains of "motherhood" and the dignity of women; and every working women should know this Act and appreciate the government of their motherland !!!

Note : Dear Members,

The idea here, is not to personalize issues, but rather to illustrate the utility and usefulness of discussions in CiteHR.com which is dedicated to the cause of HR professionals.

You can view the entire earlier thread and benefit from the posts, by clicking this link :


Warm Regards.
From India, Delhi
My dear friend Niumai,
If you have taken the trouble of studying the Maternity Benefits Act 1961 or gone through CiteHR regularly (of which you are a member since Sep. 2007); you would not have been asking for opinion.
As already opined by our learned members Mr. Malik, Mr. Khola and others, this is to reiterate that your (unmarried) girlfriend is entitled to all benefits under the Maternity Benefit Act 1961, provided she has completed 80 days of service and you can produce a medical certificate in respect of her pregnancy.
Congratulations !!! :-D
and Warm Regards.
From India, Delhi
Dear Raj Kumar,
Lets stick to what matters. I dont understand why you are trying so hard to justify yourself. If you feel that you did the right thing, then why these efforts to justify your points.
In my opinion and understanding of the law, I know that no where its mentioned that only a married woman can get maternity benefit. My point is - married or not, she is still pregant... pregnancy is what law talks abt ... I dont know if labour laws anywhere talk abt marriage. If yes, kindly enlighten me...
And abt the dates for maternity leave – obviously you can't have any period between the 9 months gap as “maternity off”… it matters to be close to the date!!!
…. Back to square one – lets stick to the topic!
From India, Madras
sure, She is going to be a mother and marriage or no marriage she will get all the maternity benifits...Wish ur girlfriend a happy motherhood
From India, Chandigarh
hi to all
Mr. Malik, Mr. Khola, Mr. Raj Kumar, Mr. Asha Mathew have rightly defined the MB Act and they are all right in saying that, a women weather married or single, get pregnant, she has legal right to claim the benefits of MB Act.
Mohan Rao
Manager HR
From India, Visakhapatnam
As all have read and stressed again by the senior members Maternity Benefit is applicable irrespective of the Marital Status. The child being born to a single unmarried mother needs the same care and concern as one who is married, this does not change.
Having said that in the society we will in , we all know how children and ladies are looked down upon when such things happen. Personally this should not happen as we dont know each ones situation and the circumstance as to why something happened but we can't change everyone. Best is to avoid our child from any such malice and harsh situation by taking precaution and give each child a healthy and safe environment to live.
Gargi V Shetty
From India, Bangalore
My dear pussyrani
You have joined on 12/09/09 and this is your first post.
I welcome you on behalf of this site.
To answer your query :
Minimum wages differ from state to state, and category to category of workers; as notified by the respective Labour deptt. from time to time.
Plz search CiteHR for more info, as this has been discussed in various threads.
From India, Delhi
Hi all
Since an unmarried women would like to have a child and is pregnant, is a strange and a rare issue in India and its culture, the people who had framed the Act had not thought of an inclusions of such nature of action in the MB Act, They have framed the Act and enacted it as per the Indian culture.
Since in the said ACT for WOMEN who is eligible for MB benefits, thank god they have not mentioned whether a married women or unmarried is eligible was mentioned specifically. Hence any women who is pregnant and is working in an organisation / establishment / industry / company / shops / factory and completed a period of 80 working days in the said firm is eligible to claim maternity benefits as per the Act in force.
Since the law is silent on the aspect of a married women or unmarried women in the act for eligibility of maternity benefits, under benefit of doubt a unmarried women is eligible to claim maternity benefits.
Mohan Rao
Manager HR
From India, Visakhapatnam
Thanx Mr. Malik 4 ur valuable info. Now she also has gone thru' legal person and got so many positive feedback. She will even get the Medical Insurance & maternity leave facilities too.
Our Indian system too is quite advancing ...to brighter side.

From India, Delhi
Mr. Malik and Mr. Dinesh,
This has been a very new topic to learn and discuss, thanks so much both of you for sharing your views and making us aware.. please post more details pertaining to such new topics.
From India, Hyderabad
Hi ,
I am amused by the question u asked , as far as i know there is no law in india where u can get the benifits, but in western countries like UK u can be benifitted from this as this case is releated to single mother she is eligible for all the benifits and it includes the clind welfare benefit also. if the mother is sick after her delivery the govt will pay her money for herself and her child care.
From India, Hyderabad
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