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vishnu-menon
My wife is a SAP consultant and was recently denied her request to work from home due to pregnancy-related health concerns. She's too weak to travel every day and her office is almost an hour away. She had shared a doctor's note with HR that said travel is not advised at least until the 14th week. The company said "It's not their policy to give WFH" for more than two days per month. At the same time, many of their employees have been working from home over the last year and they were permanently working from home for many months. Complicating matters, the company refuses her last month's salary for not serving the 30-day notice period, insisting on her physical presence during this time, which is impossible given her condition.

What step should we take next? She is thinking of quitting her job effective immediately. I want to file a case against them for this mistreatment. After all, her nature of work allows her to work from home. What are the legal provisions available for us? Would it be possible to send a notice after she has tendered her resignation or should she hold on to that for now? She's not planning to go to work anyway.

Please advise. Thank you.

From India, Bengaluru
vmlakshminarayanan
929

Hi,

Whether to allow employee to work from home is Employer's prerogative. On humanitarian basis Employer should consider but all the same it cannot be demanded as a matter of right. If the employer is denying Maternity leave then you may file a case before Labour officials. In this case work from home office is the issue. If the employer is not considering work from home option then advise your wife to apply for leave.

From India, Madras
vishnu-menon
Thank you for your response. We have not applied for maternity leave as she's still in the 8th week of her pregnancy. Maternity leave is available only after the 28th leave. The issue here is she's not in a condition to travel to work every day without risking the safety of the baby. She had only applied for work from home for a month. They denied it as well and forcing her to quit.

Just wanted to know if this is a case of discrimination. Forcing her to terminate her employment due to unavoidable pregnancy-related reasons.

From India, Bengaluru
vmlakshminarayanan
929

Hi,

To reiterate if the employer is not sanctioning Maternity leave or if the employer is forcing to resign on the grounds of maternity then employer's decision can be challenged before Labour officials but not considering work from home cannot be questioned but can be requested or can apply for leave. Alternatively she can apply for early maternity leave if feasible ? ( All pregnant women are eligible for 26 weeks of maternity leave for the first and second child, out of which they can take a maximum of 8 weeks' leave before their expected delivery date ).

Also just want to ensure your Spouse is eligible for Maternity benefit and completed the stipulated period with the Company ? ( A woman is eligible to take maternity leave under the Act only when she has worked with the employer for at least 80 days in the 12 months preceding her expected delivery date)

From India, Madras
vishnu-menon
Yes, she has completed the stipulated training period and has been a permanent employee of the company for one and a half years. Applying for maternity leave is not feasible because they only allow it in the final 8 weeks of the delivery.

Nonetheless, thank you for your time and insights. Appreciate it.

From India, Bengaluru
saswatabanerjee
2385

Your understanding of the law is wrong, Mr. Menon

The law allows the employee to take maximum of 8 weeks of maternity leave before delivery. It's not the last 8 weeks.
Besides, you can also apply to the company for unpaid leave or using the accumulated sick leave and PL for the period she is unable to go to work.

You need to give notice of maternity leave as soon as pregnancy is confirmed.
If you have not done that, then you do not have remedy in law and they can terminate your wife. If she has given notice of pregnancy then they can not terminate her till the end of the pregnancy

From India, Mumbai
labour
You can escalate the issue to higher authorities. Yu can also avail your casual and annual leave. As per maternity act work from home is allowed only after vailing maternity benefit.

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