Hello All, One of our employees was on maternity benefit. We have paid 50% of the maternity benefit and the remaining amount was supposed to release once the employee rejoins the office physically after the maternity period but the said employee did not join and extended her leave for 06 months, after expiring extended leave, she still not joined and continued as work from home with 50% salary and never joined the office. Recently she has resigned, now the management has decided to pay only 50% remaining maternity benefit as she did not join the office. So shall we give her full maternity benefit (as per act) or can we deduct some amount? Please guide.
From India, Pune
Dear Pooja-Pathania1,
Answer to your query you can find it in below given link:

From India, Mumbai

As per the Maternity Benefit Act 1961 after its amendment of 2017 provides for 26 weeks fully paid for leave and the facility of Work from home on mutually agreed terms. So first of all there cannot be any condition attached to the benefit and has to be paid fully. Any default in meeting the liability is a punishable offence under the Act. Since she has worked from home after the maternity leave and you have accepted it she is to be paid for, 50% wages appears to be proper if it is mutually agreed so.
From India, Mumbai
Dear KK!HR,
Sir, your quote "50% wages appears to be proper if it is mutually agreed so" is different from what our respectable senior member Umakanthan ji said in the link given above.
Umakanthan ji says that maternity benefit is unconditional employment benefit in recognition of motherhood and therefore, there can not be a contract to accept lesser benefit than provided by law but you are of the opinion that mutual acceptance 50% wages is proper. I am totally confused.

From India, Mumbai
I think, Ahkhil, that Mr.KK!HR refers only to the payment of salary for the period the employee worked from home and not the 50% of maternity benefit.
Even I am compelled to be skeptical about the payment of 50% salary for the work from home because of the march of the events ever since the employee proceeded on maternity leave. If we carefully analyze the narrative of the poster, after the expiry of the authorised maternity leave, the employee extended her leave for a further period of 6 months probably on LOP and afterwards her rejoining would have been prevented by the lock down and hence she would have been permitted to work from home. Work-From-Home is an alternative arrangement necessitating change in the place of work only and not effecting any changes in the existing service conditions. Therefore, the employer is not justified to pay only 50% of salary for WFH even under an agreement which tantamounts to contracting-out. Further, the poster stated that the management has now decided to pay the remaining 50% of the maternity benefit.
In fact, the question of failure to rejoin after maternity leave or overstayal does not arise as the individual extended her leave for six months and afterwards started to work from home.

From India, Salem

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