Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Insolvency N Gst Professional
Deepika Goel
Head Planning & Logistics ( Operations

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Hello, A few days back my wife her HR that she is pregnant so some work-related concessions should be given as her work involves stress, travel, etc. Instead of extending support, HR after talking to her manager, issued a PIP stating that her performance was below company expectations for past 5 months whereas she achieved more targets than other employees and many others were still not issued PIP.
In her opinion, everything is being planned so that company can avoid the burden of paying for 6 months for no work and other benefits that are mentioned under maternity act. Please suggest how should she proceed from here on. Ask me more details about the situations if required. Thank you so much.

From India, New Delhi
Provisions of Maternity Benefits Act
4. Employment of, or work by, women prohibited during certain period. -- (1) No
employer shall knowingly employ a woman in any establishment during the six weeks
immediately following the day of her delivery or her miscarriage.
(2) No woman shall work in any establishment during the six weeks immediately
following the day of her delivery of her miscarriage.
(3) Without prejudice to the provisions of section 6, no pregnant woman shall, on a
request being made by her in this behalf, be required by her employer to do during the
period specified in sub-section (4) any work which is of an arduous nature or which
involves long hours of standing or which in any way is likely to interfere with her
pregnancy or the normal development of the foetus, or is likely to cause her miscarriage
or otherwise to adversely affect her health.
(4) The period referred to in sub-section (3) shall be Ė
(a) at the period of one month immediately preceding the period of six weeks, before
the date of her expected delivery;
(b) any period during the said period of six weeks for which the pregnant woman does
not avail of leave of absence under section 6.
Suggest officially intimate company about pregnancy and enclose medical certificate in writing and duly acknowledged by company.Let it not be verbal intimation.
Once this intimation is given and acknowledged, company will have to follow the welfare act-Maternity Benefits Act 1961.

From India, Pune
Thank you Mr Nathrao but she has already given written intimation to her HR regarding pregnancy and just 2-3 days after giving intimation, HR team issued a PIP to her stating last 5 months under performance. As she is already more than 2 months pregnant, so it is very obvious that her performance can be affected due to this but after knowing this fact, issuing a PIP so that they can get rid of the employee and save the burden of giving benefits under maternity act seems totally unlawful. Please suggest what steps should we take from here on.
From India, New Delhi
Are you sure PIP is a step to find out ways to ask her to quit? If so consult a local lawyer who deals with such issues and take his advice.
From India, Pune
Below is the exact mail received from companyís head HR to her when she wrote a mail about her pregnancy and asked some concession in work as her work involves lot of traveling, stress, etc
Please suggest if consulting a lawyer is now the step that we need to take or there are some other ways as well.
ďDear Pooja,
First of all , hearty congratulations for entering into a new phase of life. I do understand this is the time when you have to take utmost care of yourself and should avoid doing stressful , travel related job.
Since all our backend operations, sitting job is handled from Pune Head Office, We only have Sales job at other locations including Delhi. Also we donít have any work from home option. Regarding PIP process , so itís a define process and canít be altered, condition to condition basis. One need to perform and come out of PIP, else follows an auto termination process.
I have already spoken to you in this regard. What I would recommend is, in current scenario its better you give full attention on your health and resign from the job. In future whenever you find yourself fit and fine & comfortable to go on field job, you can apply at Purnartha again. We would be more than happy to have you on board.
Aside Prashant, please help Pooja in smooth relieving and would request to waive off her notice period on her resignation.
Pooja, if you need any help/assistance , do let us know.Ē

From India, New Delhi
Dear Pooja,
The contents of the letter issued to are ridiculous. I recommend you find out the labour office under whose jurisdiction your company falls into. You can very well file a complaint to the labour office for the denial of the maternity leave. Please note that LO is different from a labour lawyer. Former is appointed by the government whereas latter is professional who works in an individual capacity and that too with a fee.
When you approach the Labour Officer, carry with you your company's ID card, appointment letter and above all the printout of the mail that you have received from HR.
Further, you may note that the decision of the LO is not necessarily binding on either party. Nevertheless, very few employers show nerve to go against the decision of LO. Their decisions are favourable to the employees, in general.
Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Thanks a lot Mr Dinesh for your kind response but the fact is she is not eligible to take maternity leaves as of now as she is some 3 months pregnant and still have to wait for another 3 months in order to apply for maternity leaves. The issue is after getting intimation of pregnancy from her, organisation is creating a situation so that she submits resignation on her own as clear from their mail. If we donít do anything at this stage, they will succeed in their planning of giving maternity benefits. My wife just wants her organisation to be little lenient with her in terms of targets, nature of work, etc.
Now please suggest what would be the right thing to do for us.

From India, New Delhi
Can anyone please respond to my very last query?
From India, New Delhi
Dear Anupam,
Why employees are placed under the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)? They are placed under PIP in order to give a chance to the under-performing employee to improve the performance. It acts as a warning to the employee on what can happen if he/she does not improve the performance. During PIP, the reporting manager or HOD is expected to invest time in the underperforming employee so that he/she elevates his/her performance.
Now in your wife's case, disclosure of the pregnancy has become the cause of the PIP, which is solely illegal. Her organisation is using PIP as a tool to checkmate the woman employee. Therefore, nothing wrong per se to approach Labour Officer (LO) for the withdrawal of the PIP letter.
By the way, how many employees report to your wife? Under the provisions of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 only "workman" can approach the LO. Those who are the supervisors and above cannot approach LO. However, your wife's case is different and denial of maternity benefits certainly comes within the jurisdiction of the office of LO.
In your wife's case, it is not a direct denial of the maternity benefits but implied denial. Therefore, I stand by my recommendation to approach the LO. In her application, let her write that disclosure of maternity has become the cause of the letter issued to her.
Nevertheless, before approaching LO, she may put up application addressed to the MD for the withdrawal of PIP. If MD remains inclement then the only option will be left is to approach LO.
General Comments for the HR Fraternity: -The way HR has issued a letter to the employee speaks volumes about that HR professional. That person is so confused that he/she has not understood concepts of the PIP when the employee can be terminated and so on. On the one hand, HR wants to engage their employee. On another hand, they also work to disengage the employees. When a woman employee is denied maternity benefits, obviously other employees will have sympathies with her and it impacts the morale of the employee.
Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Thank you so much Mr Dinesh for the valuable information...A few new MT joiners are under my wife but they donít report to her. But as you said, even if they report, she can approach LO as the case is entirely different. As my wife told me yesterday, her manager is harassing her verbally by talking about her performance in the last 2-3 months despite knowing the fact what she has to go through in last 2-3 months. She feels stressed by listening to all this and her moral is going down. It may be their strategy to make employee submit resignation by following these indirect practices but after all these seem illegal to me. However we want to see their behaviour for just few more days so that we can get much more clarity about their mindset so that we can plan our next step. Please correct me if my thoughts are wrong. Thank you
From India, New Delhi

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