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nirmala khatri
Hi, our employee has been on maternity leave since April, and our company gives appraisals in April only.
As per Indian law, the woman is paid the same amount for the last three months before taking Maternity leave.
So, should she be paid the increased amount or not during her maternity leave?

From India, Delhi

I understand that by "our company gives appraisal in the April", you mean that you give salary increment in April based on the performance of the employees in the preceding period of 12 months. Then if an employee is proceeding for leave (whether maternity leave or other) you should have a record of her performance as evidenced by a performance appraisal, right? On the basis of that you can award increment to her right from April, and start paying that revised salary during her leave period.

Now, if you decide to pay the revised salary once she rejoins work, then also there is nothing wrong in it. At the same time, if you have an incremental pay scale which guarantees an increment, then that should be paid. Most of the private establishments do not follow incremental pay scales but will pay increment based on performance appraisal. In such scenario, you can hold the increment till she resumes work. In the case of maternity leave which extends to six months, it is fine that you pay it later. Moreover, section 5(1) of the Maternity Benefits Act only says that a woman employee should be paid the same salary as she was getting just before she proceeded for leave. Therefore, the salary of March would satisfy the legal requirements.

From India, Kannur

In effect, it is the decision of the company whether to give increment and when to give it.
Unless you have a specific clause in the employment contract, the choice remains with the employer.

If you have an existing practice, then you should follow that.

Else, you need to decide on the policy for this scenario.
If you value the employees and wish to retain them, then giving a little more by way of increment when the person is not working will always help create a loyalty in them. The problem is many times the women do not return to work, which would mean the increment gave you no additional benefit. So perhaps you can intimate the change but pay it only after the employee joins.

From India, Mumbai

Dear Nirmala,

In India, the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 governs maternity leave and benefits. According to this Act, a woman is entitled to maternity benefits for the period of her maternity leave, which includes full wages for a period of 26 weeks.

Regarding your specific question about salary increases during maternity leave, the key points to consider are:

Calculation of Maternity Benefit:
As per Section 5(1) of the Maternity Benefit Act, the maternity benefit is calculated based on the average daily wage for the period of three months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery. This means the salary she was receiving before taking leave is used to compute her benefits.

Appraisal and Salary Increase:
If an appraisal cycle occurs during the maternity leave and results in a salary increase, the law does not explicitly require the employer to adjust the maternity benefit to reflect this increase. However, company policies and practices can vary.

Company Policies
: Many progressive companies choose to apply salary increases retroactively once the employee returns from maternity leave. This practice ensures that the employee does not miss out on the salary increase due to her absence.

Legal Perspective:
There is no explicit mandate in Indian law that requires the payment of an increased salary during the maternity leave period. However, best practices and fairness might suggest adjusting the employee's salary once they return.

In conclusion, while Indian law does not explicitly require the adjustment of maternity benefits to include salary increases granted during maternity leave, doing so could be seen as a fair and supportive practice. It would be prudent for your company to review its policies and consider aligning them with best practices to support employees on maternity leave.


From India, Bangalore

It's well known fact that 'appraisal' and resultant grant of '(periodical) increment' for an employee's performance during the pertinent previous year, obviously. If that being so then why there should be a second thought whether to give effect to or not. A female employee going on maternity leave is not unexpected, not unlawful as well. Is't not unfair to deny an increment for the past performance? When an enterprise don't hesitate to employ females, in reproductive age group, those employee rightly deserve MBs including maternity leave when she's pregnant as per law. Any thought to deny ML and increment on the plea that she might not resume work after expiry of ML not only unethical but also unjust & inhuman.
From India, Bangalore
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