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I had joined a company on 05th Feb 2024 as a Sales Executive. After that I was having problems with my health and after 15-20 days, we got to know that I am 3.5 months pregnant. My age is 34 and I was having issues of PCOD hence the cycle was not proper, hence it was common to miss my periods. Now when I got to know that I am pregnant, I immediately informed my Manager and Sales Director about it and to my HR also informally. On 08th Mar 2024, my HR told me that they will move my Employment from Probabtion to Contractual and I would not be eligible for Maternity Benefit or Medical Bonus, on which I agreed as working in the company was important and not the Maternity Benefits.
There was no End Date mentioned in the Contract and HR informed me that I can work till I want or till my EDD also and inform to leave whenever I am okay.
On 19th April 2024 I asked informally to my manager for WFH if possible but they said it cannot be done as it is not their policy. I agreed to that and said that I would travel and do WFO itself. On 30th April 2024 at 05:30 pm, I received communication from HR that they are shifting me to WFH and reducing my fixed salary to Zero and I would be on Commission based employment to which I denied and I went to office as per routine but my Director denied me to work and sent me home, I received email in evening that I would be getting WFH but I would be put on PIP as my performance is not proper. They shared me performance since Feb 2024 which is increasing but they are saying that it is not up to the mark. I asked for their SOP of PIP but there is no revert on that, In all these emails the HR head is also looped but there is no help from their end also. I am the first employee who has gotten pregnant in that organization and they do not know anything but trying to make me leave on different grounds. My main concern is that I am not interested in Maternity Benefits, just that I want to work till June 30, 2024 as I have financial commitments, but the company is trying to terminate me on basis of false poor performance. I have refused to accept the PIP. Can they terminate me in this case or can they put me in PIP showing false metrics.
Is there any law or ACT or any section which protect my rights as this is clear that the company is trying to get rid of me just because I am pregnant. Expert advice is needed please help me

From India, Mumbai

The HR in your company does not know the basics of legal aspects governing employment. That is why they are trying to change the status from probation (regular) to contractual, and from contractual to commission based etc. They could have just terminated you without changing your employment from regular to contractual without assigning any reason for termination, because during probation an employee shall be terminated without reason, provided the same is mentioned in the appointment order. If your HR knew this, he would have applied it in your contract of employment also.

Another important point is that in order to be entitled to maternity benefits, an employee should have worked at least for 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding the expected date of delivery. Section 5(2) of the Maternity Benefits Act can be interpreted as follows:
1. There should be 12 months service immediately preceding the expected date of delivery and
2. During this period there should be 80 days' working.

Therefore, just by working for 80 days a woman employee MAY NOT become entitled to maternity benefits. A plain reading of section 5(2) may mean only 80 days' working but the qualifying period is 80 days in the 12 months and not 80 days in three or four months.

But in the absence of any interpretation from any court, I cannot say that this is what the right interpretation, but there can be interpretation that it is just 80 days without reference to 12 months also. Therefore, please take legal assistance before proceeding.

The act of the employer making changes in the service conditions, putting the employee on PIP, forcing the employee to leave etc are unfair practices only. We should challenge such atrocities.But before that we should also see the other side of the coin.

From India, Kannur
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