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My employee has proceeded on maternity leave by orally informing her immediate boss that her tentative date of delivery is 5th Jan 2021. She has however not given any written leave application.
1) Is it compulsory give a written application for availing maternity leave (either before delivery or after delivery)
2) Should the application be supported by a doctor certificate ( either before delivery or after delivery)
3) what should the doctor write in the certificate if an employee takes ML before delivery

From India, Mumbai
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Insolvency N Gst Professional

Dinesh Divekar

Dear member,

The post looks a little surprising. Anyway, replies to your questions are as below:

1) is it compulsory give written application for availing maternity leave ( either before delivery or after delivery)

Reply: - Maternity leave is a long leave. When the woman employee goes on long leave, authorities need to plan her absence. For the planning purposes or to maintain the operational continuity, advance notice is necessary. Under the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, a woman employee is required to give notice of her pregnancy six weeks before the pregnancy. Please check paragraph 6 of the said act. If the woman is covered under ESI, the ESI doctor will give a certificate.

2) Should the application be supported by doctor certificate ( either before delivery or after delivery)

Reply: - A pregnant employee is to submit a certificate from an ESI certified doctor or a Certified Gynaecologist. Without the supporting certificate how the claim can be admissible?

3) what should the doctor write in the certificate if an employee takes ML before deliver.

Reply: - Please check the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act. Especially, you may check paragraph 10 of the said act. A pregnant woman can avail of 26 weeks of maternity leave. The Maternity Benefit Act originally provided maternity benefit of 12 weeks, out of which up to six weeks could be claimed before delivery. In 2017, the law was amended to extend the period to 26 weeks. Out of the 26 weeks, up to eight weeks can be claimed before delivery. However, a woman need not structure her leave in this manner—she can instead take the entire 26 weeks of leave after the delivery. Also, these are the maximum periods of a claim and she can claim the benefit for a smaller period as well.

Final Comments: - Settling the queries on the statutory provisions apart, there appears to be a communication gap. Probably in your company, a policy on maternity leave is not prepared and if prepared, it is not circulated. If circulated then it might not have been understood by the women employees.

If a woman employee proceeds on maternity leave just informing her reporting manager then it casts a shadow on the effectiveness or even need of the HR department. In fact, pregnancies do not happen secretly. Other employees get the visible signs of it a couple of months before. Were those signs been ignored by the reporting manager or even by HR?


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
thanks for your clarification sir
The lady concern has joined our organization on 15th Jan 2020 and is not understanding the maternity rule . Further she is working in one of our branches in a remote village of maharashtra and our HR is in Mumbai . Other employees must have got the visible signs of her pregnancy couple of months before but the same was not informed to HR

From India, Mumbai

Leave application is a basic concept for grant of leave.

It serves as proof-leave had been applied, nature of leave-casual, annual, Sick etc

What does Maternity benefits Act say about leavel

Refer Section 6 of the act.

6. Notice of claim for maternity benefit and payment thereof. -- (1) Any woman

employed in an establishment and entitled to maternity benefit under the provisions of

this Act may give notice in writing in such form as may be prescribed, to her employer,

stating that her maternity benefit and any other amount to which she may be entitled

under this Act may be paid to her or to such person as she may nominate in the notice and

that she will not work in any establishment during the period for which she receives

maternity benefit.

(2) In the case of a woman who is pregnant, such notice shall state the date from which

she will be absent from work, not being a date earlier than six weeks from the date of her

expected delivery.

(3) Any woman who has not given the notice when she was pregnant may give such

notice as soon as possible after the delivery.

(4) On receipt of the notice, the employer shall permit such woman to absent herself from

the establishment until the expiry of six weeks after the day of her delivery.

(5) The amount of maternity benefit for the period preceding the date of her expected

delivery shall be paid in advance by the employer to the woman on the production of

such proof as may be prescribed that the woman is pregnant, and the amount due for the

subsequent period shall be paid by the employer to the woman within forty-eight hours of

production of such proof as may be prescribed that the woman has been delivered of a


(6) The failure to give notice under this section shall not disentitle a woman to maternity

benefit or any other amount under this Act if she is otherwise entitled to such benefit or

amount and in any such case an Inspector may either of his own motion or on an

application made to him by the woman, order the payment of such benefit or amount

within such period as may be specified in the order.

Notwithstanding ,employee needs to inform employer as her absence will be for long period and plans to manage work need to be made by employer.

Clear cut Maternity benefits policy which is in consonance with law needs to be displayed and made known to all employees.

From India, Pune
Dinesh Divekar

Dear member,

The incident shows that an overhaul is needed to improve the organisational communication in your organisation. Organisational communication is different from personal communication. The former relates to the free flow of information from one department to another. As a part of this communication, you need to improve the induction practices as well. Hereafter, sooner the employee joins, make sure that he/she reads all the policies and procedures and gives a certificate to this effect. The essence of policies lies in understanding by all the employees.

The incident shows the failure of the manager also. Managership lies in proactive communication with the superiors. Non-communication by the manager shows his blitheness or carefree approach.

Hereafter, you may start issuing a half-yearly circular on the declaration of the pregnancy after the first trimester.

As stated earlier, your company needs to improve the organisational communication. However, managers need to understand this concept. To make them understand, organise the training programme for them. Otherwise, such instances will continue to recur.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

Failure to give notice shall not dis-entitle a woman to receive the maternity benefit under the act. However, you are entitled to get the proof of pregnancy and other associated documents. Just wish her well and ask for the documents and make a policy and to create awareness among the employees organise a webinar or something and tell then the process of taking such leaves.

From India, New Delhi
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