Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Madhu.T.K
Industrial Relations And Labour Laws
Nagarkar Vinayak L
Hr And Employee Relations Consultant
Pkjadia
Selfemployed
Suresh2511
Labour Consultant

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Are there any regulations for Maternity benefits act for Women employed as consultants for a annually renewable contract?
From India, Bengaluru
Yes; it is nothing but Fixed Term Contract employment only. As such the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act,1961 would be certainly applicable to such women employees like any other regular employee of the establishment.
From India, Salem
I would like to add that if the terms of employment provides for office timing, hours of work, leaves and holidays etc at par with other employees then you would be an employee by all means and you will be eligible to maternity benefits as per law.
From India, Kannur
Dear madam,
It will depend on the terms of the appointment. If as a consultant, one is engaged on retainership basis and is required to visit place of work on "as required" basis, the eligibility is questionable.
Under these circumstances, it is required to be examined whether she is "employed" by the organization and how the condition of 80 day's work will be reckoned..
But the above aspect apart, from the face of the query, I share the same view as expressed by the learned colleagues that she is eligible for the MB under the Act.
Regards,
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
Dear Snigdha Mandal,
Pls go thru the attached circular of Ministry of Labour & Employment / GOI dated 12th April, 2017, where clarifications are given regarding the entitlement of Maternity Benefits for women employees.
Regards,
Suresh

From India, Thane

Attached Files
File Type: pdf Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act,2017 -Clarifications.pdf (731.6 KB, 31 views)

Dear colleague,
Thank you Suresh. The amendment made it abundantly clear the position that a woman employee engaged as Consultant is covered under MB Act and my observations are redundant.
Regards,
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
The attachment given by Mr Suresh does not support that a consultant is eligible to maternity benefits. but what is important is the terms of appointment. If she has been put as a consultant who is independent and does not follow the HR rules and procedures regarding office timing, leave and holidays etc then it is to be regarded as genuine contract as a consultant who can not get any benefits of any labour law including Maternity Benefits Act.
From India, Kannur
Dear friends,
I agree that clarification issued by MoL is not a law. MBA does not say anything about consultant. In fact,it cannot have stipulation, because, a consultant is an independent person who is an expert to advise the organization.
Here, the most important aspect which has lost the sight in all responses, is the nature of work. If, scope of work is like an employee and not like a consultant, certainly she will get the benefits. In such case, agreement terming her as consultant, will be bogus and sham agreement.
P K Jadia,
Labour Law Consultant, Silvassa, UT of DNH and DD,
9687625260

From India, Jalalpur
After going through all the above observations, I would like to rejoin the discussion. Ordinarily, the word "consultant" refers to a person who gives opinions on a given issue which might be quite unusual or complicated and suggests appropriate alternatives based on his own experience and expertise as well. Thus the process of consultation creates an adhoc relationship between the consultant and the person who seeks consultation. As it is, therefore, there exists no employment relationship between the two. When the relationship is regularly retained for any stretch of period, the consultant is paid his charges i.e., retainer fee on annual or monthly basis with the conditions of availability of his services as and when required and keeping the information shared with him confidential. Thus, such an adhoc arrangement creates only a contract for service and not a contract of service between the parties.

However, in due course, particularly with the advent of large scale I.T industries, catchy and novel terms of designations of regular employees such as consultant, associate, executive etc., came to be coined and widely used with the apparent intention of eliminating hierarchical distinctions. At times, in matters of special employment benefits like gratuity, bonus, maternity benefits, such fancy designations tend to create confusion like the one raised in the post.

From India, Salem
A consultant on annual retainership will only be entitled to maternity benefit, if she is held to be an "employee".
Since she might have been raising her bills for retainership and you might have been paying her fee after deducting TDS like other professionals.
The element of control and supervision over her work by the employer is crucial for deciding whether she is an employee. In ny opinion, if this element is absent, then she may not be covered under the Act 1963.

From India, Faridabad

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