I am a doctor working in a private hospital for the last 1.5 yrs. At present I am pregnant and have informed the same via email to medical superintendent and COO of the hospital one month ago... I also informed them that I will be proceeding on leave at 32 weeks as allowed to me by the Maternity Benefit Act. However, now that I have reached the said 32 weeks, I have emailed them again regarding the fact that I am proceeding on leave. However, they have neither replied to my mail nor approved the leave till now. Also, I would like to know what are my rights in case they don't give me payment during leave period and what to do in case they don't.
From India, Chandigarh

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Dear Drfanconi,

You say that you had informed the hospital authorities on your pregnancy about one month ago. While informing them, you had intimated them that you would proceed on maternity leave when you complete 32 weeks. Now the 32 weeks are completed. This means you had informed them when you had completed 31 weeks which is a little late. Generally, intimation on pregnancy is expected to be given after the first trimester. Though late intimation does not deprive you of maternity leave, it helps the employers to arrange the replacement and maintain the operational continuity.

When you had informed them, immediately you should have filled the leave application and submitted to the competent authorities for their approval. Obtaining approval well in advance would have been the right approach. Anyway, you may submit the leave application even now also. In the leave application, you may give reference to your email.

By the way, how about verbal intimation to the authorities on pregnancy? There are visible signs of pregnancy and how come these were unnoticed by the HR professionals or your superiors? There are cases when women employees do not communicate officially on their pregnancy, HR professionals call them to their department on their own and guide the women employees on what to do further.

Interpretation of non-communication on your email could be many. However, no need to do any kind of guesswork.

At this stage, this suggestion is sufficient. If hospital authorities demonstrate amenability then well and good. Otherwise what to do that will be told as the things unfold.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Dr.Fanconi,
It seems that you have already informed the fact of your pregnancy and your intention to avail ML effective from the 32nd week by means of an e-mail. Though you're a doctor yourself, you ought to have enclosed a medical certificate confirming the fact by a registered medical practitioner.
No problem. Now get a medical certificate mentioning the expected date of delivery and submit it along with your leave application and proceed on leave. The important point here is that the prenatal period of leave shall not be more than 8 weeks prior to the EDD mentioned in the certificate.

From India, Salem
@DineshDivekar Sir every since the start of my pregnancy I am registered as a patient in my own hospital, all my scans and reports are also of the same said hospital. This is since 6 weeks of the pregnancy.
From India, Chandigarh

Request you to check your terms of engagement with establishment, if it establish the full time employer-employee relation through payroll basis, and salary is paid by establishment, then we may discuss about the further formalities

Dear Drfanconi,

You have written that "@DineshDivekar Sir every since the start of my pregnancy I am registered as a patient in my own hospital, all my scans and reports are also of the same said hospital. This is since 6 weeks of the pregnancy".

You have been availing of medical facilities provided by your hospital. However, availing of the medical facilities cannot have a trade-off with timely official communication. This is because the roles of those who provided medical treatment to you and those who are going to approve your maternity leave are different. Both work independently. While the former dealt with you as a patient, the latter would have dealt your application from the administration's point of view. Their concern is on how arranging your replacement and maintaining continuity in the services to the patients' of your department.

In your case how come your HOD or the HR department have not guided you is not understood.

Anyway, now your pregnancy is just a few weeks away. Even now also fill the leave application and get it approved. Please do this on priority.

Lastly what the previous member "Glidor" has written merits attention as well. Are you a paid employee of the hospital or work on a consultancy basis? Provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act (MBA) are applicable only to the employees and not to those who work as a consultant.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
You are entitled to institute a Civil Suit before the Civil Judge (Senior Division) of the area where you were working in the hospital, for recovery of damages equivalent to 26 weeks maternity benefit not extended to you, which the employer was obliged to pay to you under the Maternity Benefit Act.
S. K. Mittal

From India, Faridabad
Dear Mr S. K. Mittal,
For not granting the maternity leave, it is too early to suggest to file a suit against the hospital. Any weapon, whether physical or a legal, has to be used sparingly. This is because the opponent could raise a weapon from their side and there are chances of injuries getting inflicted. Those who raise the weapon should think of the consequences of injury and capability to sustain it.
Let us wait for the reply from the originator of the post. This is a case of non-communication from both, the individual employee and the administration of the hospital. Therefore, let us not have a legal remedy to this admin issue. We do not even know whether the doctor is a regular employee.
Generally the doctors in the hospital work in the individual capacity. Therefore, under the provisions of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 they can be classified as "workman". In that case, there is no need to file a civil suit but a complaint to the labour office will suffice the purpose. However, it is too early to comment on these things.
Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

Maternity Benefits Act is a welfare legislation.
Delay in official communication cant and will not impact her entitlement for benefits under the Act
Labour Commissioner is the authority to be approach with non payment issues
But time has not come.
Put up leave application with Medical Certificate and ask for leave from ----- to---- and get it acknowledged.The concerned lady needs to be calm and initiate action only if indifference persists to official leave application.
Health of the child is of prime importance.
She can probably consult a lawyer for correct information and also about her nature of employment-contract,on roll etc.

From India, Pune
Thank you so much for such valuable inputs.. I am a regular employee on payroll working since last 1.5yrs. Since I am myself a gynaecologist... I am aware of the usual procedure of applying for meternity leave in my hospital as I write the eligibility for the same for all the staff nurses etc who are under our care and are also employees. As per my knowledge there does not exist any separate form for maternity leave application in the institute. Once eligible for leave according to expected date of delivery, we mention the same on the patients OPD paper. This is countersigned by the HOD of the department and sent to Medical superintendent who forwards it to HR.... HR then adds those leaves to the online platform (Employee Portal) which is available to all the employee wherein they can claim the leave. Hence, When I informed the HR of my pregnancy by mail, almost once month ago at around 25 weeks... I felt that it was enough.
From India, Chandigarh

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