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Anonymous
I wanted to understand and get clarity on the work-from-home provisions in the maternity benefits act.

From my understanding, 26 weeks is the maternity benefit leave that a full time employee can avail. My doubt is regarding whether the employer can make the woman work from home during those 26 weeks, if not all for some weeks? Is this permitted under the law? Also, if the woman herself wishes to join work a few weeks after delivery and doesnt want to take the entire leave, is that okay?

From India, Mumbai
Dinesh Divekar
7855

Dear member,

The replies to your queries are as below:

Q1. My doubt is regarding whether the employer can make the woman work from home during those 26 weeks, if not all for some weeks? Is this permitted under the law?

Reply: - The employer cannot make the woman work from home during those 26 weeks. This would defeat the very purpose of the leave. Maternity leave is a form of medical leave. The 26 weeks of leave cover pre-natal and post-natal care for the woman.

Q2. Also, if the woman herself wishes to join work a few weeks after delivery and doesn't want to take the entire leave, is that okay?

Reply: - The woman who shows readiness to work during maternity leave may have a smooth delivery, but this is not the case for all women. Occasionally, the pregnancies are complicated, and those women need rest. By volunteering to work during the maternity period, these women could set a wrong precedent. It could enhance the unreasonable expectations of the employers. By benchmarking against such women, employers may start asking other women to work during the delivery period. This is certainly not acceptable.

Final comments: - The Maternity Benefit Act falls within the purview of Social Security. Every country wants its citizens to be healthy. Health has to be nourished even before the birth of the child. Adequate care is necessary for the healthy development of the foetus or a newborn child. Employers are expected to keep this larger picture in mind. Setting aside personal gain by not employing the temporary worker to replace the full-time worker (who avails of maternity leave), the employers are expected to serve society by abiding by the laws. While the hapless woman could be forced or coerced to work, such coercion is against the democratic values of the country. Earlier, the maternity leave was for 12 weeks. In 2017, it was increased to 26 weeks through legislation. Before enacting laws, the ministry concerned takes the advice of the experts. Furthermore, the elected representatives of the people pass the bills in the Parliament. So why do employers go against the will of the society? Employers need to ponder!

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
ashok-sharma1
5

Not permitted as per provisions of Maternity Benefit Act.
From India
jeevarathnam
633

As Dinesh said it is not permitted.

Also need to add few points
Act says as No employer shall knowingly employ a woman in any establishment during the ________ so it is very clear as not to engage

Also note the definition of women is not only full time women. It is direct, indirect, through agency, for wages in establishment - it means all the women in the establishment who are engaged.

From India, Bangalore
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