Greetings everyone,
I work for a company on a fixed term contract basis. Though employment is on a fixed term contract there is provision for the contract to get extended based on the requirement. I have been employed here for 3 years and 9 months and the contract kept extending every 6 months.
Currently I am on family way and expected date of delivery is September 15, 2014 and I am eligible for a 90 day paid maternity leave per company policies. I was planning to go on a maternity leave from September 1, 2014.
The company has decided to however terminate my contract on August 30, 2014 because they want to avoid paying me unnecessarily for 3 months.
Can someone please help me understand if this is legally acceptable? Will I still be eligible for maternity benefits on termination of employment

From India, Hyderabad
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
+1 Other

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Dear Smt. Arti,

Even though a person is employed as a Fixed Term Employee, he/she is entitled to the benefits of all Labour Legislations applicable in respect of his/her status, sex and fulfilment of eligibility conditions, if any,stipulated therein during his/her tenure as such. When the tenure of his/her services is extended every now and then on its expiry without any break, cumulative effect of the length of service rendered under the contract comes into play for the purpose of conferring eligibility for accrued benefits notwithstanding the intermittant expiry which is purely technical. In your case, the current lease of your contractual service ends on August 31, 2014 and it is well within the discretion of your employer to extend it as usual or not. As per your statement, your expected date of delivery is September 15,2014. If the contract is extended as usual, you may proceed on maternity leave from Sept.1 as planned for your services reckoned with from the date of your expected delivery is well over 80 days in the preceding 12 months. But, as you have stated your Company plans to terminate the contract on August 30,2014 simply to avoid paying your maternity benefit. Really, it is a tricky situation. The only way out, when the employer smartly refuses to be humane and considerate even though you have been under his continuous employment as a contract employee for more than the past three years, is otherwise being smarter. Please go through Sec.6 of the Maternity Benefit Act,1961. Sec.6(2) of the Act says that a pregnant woman can state in the notice mentioned in 6(1) the date from which she would be absent from work not earlier than 6 weeks from the date of her expected delivery.So to say, you issue a notice u/s 6(1) and mention in that you would be going on maternity leave from August11,2014 during the first week of August,2014.

From India, Salem
Thank you Sir.. That was indeed helpful. Let me see if I can actually go on matenrity leave from the 11th of August itself. Not sure but they moght say they will not approve my maternity leave. But let me try. Thanks again
From India, Hyderabad

Dear Smt.Arti,

A word of caution. Sec 12(1) of the MB Act,1961 restricts the power of the employer to dismiss or discharge a woman while she is on maternity leave. ( That's why I suggested going on maternity leave from August 11.) Since you are a fixed-term employee and your present term of tenure comes to an end on the close of August, your employer still can terminate you on the date of expiry of the contract as per its terms and refuse to pay maternity benefit beyond that date on the plea of non-renewal of the contract. If the move suggested could spoil your amicable relations with the management which made the periodical renewal of the contract possible in the past and you are very particular about your job in the same organization after delivery consult with the elder members of your family includuiing your husband as well as your well-wishers in the organization before taking a final decision in this regard. If your employer chooses to be broad minded rather than money-minded, he may grant you extension of services as in the past ignoring the letter of Law favouring him but its spirit behind recognizing the nobility of motherhood.

From India, Salem

Is it lawful that an employee is terminated due to maternity related issue after her job fixed term expires,when all other fixed term employee’s contract is renewed.
From India, Kolkata

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