Anonymous
I have a question on obtaining maternity leave, I have joined an organization without informing about my maternity, what might be the situations that I might face when I reach out to management for maternity leave? Will I be terminated?
From India, Hyderabad
In general, pregnancy is not a disqualification for a woman job-aspirant unless there is an express stipulation as such based on the nature of the job which requires strenuous physical training, immediate posting on the job which involves day to day long travel etc.
However ---
When the poster came to know about her pregnancy - before or after joining?
Whether there was any question about pregnancy in the application for the job?
If not, whether any question was put to the poster during the interview for the job?,
If the answer to the last two questions mentioned above is ' NO', there is no problem or the question of suppression of material fact even if the poster was aware of the fact of her being pregnant while applying for the job.

The essential qualification to claim maternity benefit under the Maternity Benefit Act,1961 as per section 5 (2) is only that the woman should have actually worked in the establishment for a minimum of 80 days in the 12 months period immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery. Therefore, whether a woman has necessarily to inform her employer of the fact of pregnancy at any time before or after her joining the services is immaterial.

The question of notice to the employer u/s 6 of the Act arises only when the pregnant woman makes a claim for maternity and payment thereof. Sub-sections (3) and (6) of Section 6 make provisions for belated submission of such notice and entitlement to maternity benefit even in its absence as well.

Therefore, the poster need not have any such wild imagination of her being terminated when she approaches for maternity benefit because of the job protection granted to the pregnant woman under the provisions of section 12 of the MB Act,1961.. Better, let her give a notice about her expected date of delivery now itself with a certificate from a doctor so that her employer may plan well about alternative arrangements to fill the leave vacancy.

From India, Salem
It is not a problem,

As long as you have not put in the minimum working days to avail maternity leave.
As long as there is no difficulty in fulfilling a project by distributing your work among your team incase you go on leave.
As long as there is no difficulty in hiring a temp staff on adhoc to do your work.
As long as there is no need to commute daily to your office.
As long as you are a responsible worker knowing the pros/cons of impact of your absence for several months soon after being hired.

So, do not suppress the fact. Disclose it voluntarily because an interviewer asking for such questions at the time of interview is not palatable.

From India, Chennai
Dear madam,

Your knowingly not informing the employer at the time of joining about your pregnacy, is certainly not in good taste. The legal aspects of your entitlement to the ML now , have been clarified by the learned colleagues,

But put yourself in the Employer's shoes . You want to avail of ML benefit immediately after putting short stint. You will be unavailable for work for six months. While you may enjoy legal right of ML, the employer is called upon to face the hurdle.

I suggest to be fair to you and the employer, you express apology for late informing about your pregnancy, and request to grant ML by submitting documents as per prescribed procedure.

You are protected against termination, if you are eligible and have followed procedure as laid down in the MB Act/Rules.

Regards,

Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai

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