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Hi, My employer has asked me to make a maternity leave policy. We are a US-based company with a team strength of 8 members from India (all are termed as contractors). 2 are pregnant (including me). Our Indian law provides 26 weeks of leave.
While researching, I also found that the minimum eligibility criteria for an organization in India is at least 10 employees for the policy to be applicable.
Can there be any exceptions?
Kindly guide me on how to make a policy for our organisation. All inputs will be really helpful.

From India, Bengaluru

If yours is not a factory, mine or plantation, then you require at least 10 persons to make the Maternity Benefits Act applicable to your establishment. If your management is ready to extend it with 8 persons (whether on fixed term contract or not) you can make the provisions of the said Act applicable to you. But tomorrow the management should not raise it as a question why did you do it when the law does not make it obligatory to give 26 weeks' leave with salary. Therefore, when submitting a proposal be very careful. 26 weeks' leave with pay is not a kid's play even for a US based company. hence, take approval stating that we will not come under the fold of Maternity Benefits Act, but the policy is drafted and implemented as an employee benefit. Since it is not mandated by law at this point of time, you can take the entire conditions as are provided in the Act as it is or can have your own conditions, entitlement and eligibility. But once the number of employees become 10, the law will be made applicable, and the policy that you have made will become inapplicable. My advise is to wait till the establishment becomes covered by the Act. This is because it is the privileges that becomes rights of employees later on ( a lesson from my experience in the field for more than three decades)
From India, Kannur

Please note that headcount of 10 includes direct employees, employees engaged through contractors, housekeeping etc. If at all you have such then you are by default covered.
From India, Bangalore

Dear Anonymous CiteHR Member,

I need the following clarifications to answer your query appropriately:

1. Whether the Indian employees termed as Contractors are based in India or US?
2. Whether the said 6 contractors are being paid salary in UDS or INR?
3. Whether the appointment letter stipulates any condition about maternity leave or maternity benefits.

On receipt of above clarifications, I would be able to provide suitable reply.

Chandramani Lal Srivastava

From India, New Delhi

Navigating maternity leave policies can be complex, especially when dealing with different legal jurisdictions like the US and India. While Indian law mandates a minimum of 10 employees for maternity leave policies to be applicable, there might be room for exceptions or alternative arrangements. Here are some steps you can take to develop a maternity leave policy for your organization:

Consult Legal Experts:
Seek advice from legal experts who are familiar with employment laws in both the US and India. They can help you understand any exceptions or alternative arrangements that might apply to your situation.

Consider Best Practices:
Even if your organization is not legally required to provide maternity leave in India due to the small team size, consider implementing a policy that aligns with best practices and reflects your company's values. Offering maternity leave can improve employee morale, retention, and overall company culture.

Flexible Arrangements
: Explore flexible arrangements such as remote work, reduced hours, or extended unpaid leave options to accommodate the needs of pregnant employees, even if a formal maternity leave policy cannot be implemented due to legal constraints.

Communicate Transparently:
Be transparent with your employees about the limitations of the current policy framework and any alternative arrangements that are being made. Clear communication can help manage expectations and foster trust within the team.

Provide Support:
Offer additional support to pregnant employees, such as access to resources for prenatal care, flexible scheduling for medical appointments, and accommodations for any pregnancy-related needs in the workplace.

Review Regularly:
Regularly review and update your maternity leave policy as your organization grows and evolves. As you hire more employees and expand your team, you may become eligible to implement a formal maternity leave policy under Indian law.

Seek Feedback:
Encourage feedback from employees, including pregnant employees, on the effectiveness of the maternity leave arrangements and any areas for improvement. Their input can help ensure that the policy meets the needs of your team.

By consulting legal experts, considering best practices, and being transparent with your team, you can develop a maternity leave policy that supports pregnant employees while navigating the legal requirements of both the US and India.


From India, Bangalore
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