Maternity rights are those rights which are given to the pregnant women and the new mothers from their workplaces which include the Maternity benefits like fully paid while you are on maternity leave, taking care for her child in the workplace and many more.
In August 2016, an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, was passed in Rajya Sabha and later on March 2017 this was passed by the Lok Sabha and after some days in the month of March 2017, assent from the president of India was received. So, finally, the Maternity Amendment Bill 2017 was made effective from April 1, 2017.
[ Read:Maternity Leave and pay ]
Let’s have a look at some of the major talk about your Maternity Rights and Benefits:
A pregnant woman is allowed to ask her company for the maternity leave. There are certain rules and policies which should be followed by the pregnant employees to make them eligible for the maternity leave. There are many situations in which the maternity leave can be changed according to you. If you want to know more about the rules of the Maternity leave, then read our article Maternity leave and Pay to clear your all the doubts.
Maternity pay is the amount of salary which is paid by the company when you were on maternity leave. It is true that maternity pay differs from company to company as well as the different employees. As like maternity leave, the maternity pay also goes through various processes and the pregnant employee should be eligible to get all the benefits. There are various ways to get maternity pay. To know more about the Paid maternity leave, have a look at another content Maternity leave and pay.
The antenatal appointments are some of the relaxation and parent-craft classes in which the employee need to take the time off with pay to attend them at described times. This is also allowed to the husband of preggies who can also take time off for the classes to go with her wife. The father’s time off is usually unpaid and limited to six and a half hours per appointment.
The company has the right to ask the employee for an appointment card or other documents that show an appointment has been made.
Pregnancy health and safety consideration
This is the right of every pregnant employee to deny the work in the office in which she is not feeling comfortable and have some safety risks. The women who can enjoy this maternity are the one who is pregnant, who has given birth in the last six months or mother who is breastfeeding.
A written policy will be prepared by the company that they are not going to risk the pregnant employee in terms of their health and safety purpose. But the pregnant employee should submit the prescription of doctor or midwife who advised to avoid such works. If the discussed risk is genuine then the company is going to help the pregnant employee in three ways:
- The company can adjust the temporary working conditions and hours according to the comfort of the employee.
- If the 1st option is not possible then the pregnant employee is asked to offer suitable works at the same salary which is equal to the previous work.
- If both the options are not suitable for the pregnant employee can be suspended from work on paid leave until her maternity leave has been started. But to get this profit, the pregnant employee should provide the outcome of the risk assessment and the reason why the risk could not be removed.
Sometimes the pregnant women are unable to work in office due to pregnancy illness, Under these situation, the company has right to take these leave as like the other sick leave and can pay his company’s policy pay or unpaid holidays. This pregnancy illness sick leaves will not be counted on the maternity leave.
Agency worker’s Rights
The agency worker’ right is different from the above-discussed maternity benefits. Check out their maternity benefits:
- If the employee had completed her 12 weeks qualifying period with the same job then only she is allowed to take the paid time off for the antenatal care.
- The Agency preggies are not allowed to take the maternity leave.
- The workers are still allowed to take at least two weeks off work after having a baby.
- However, the weeks leave is decided by the employee that when she wants to take, i.e., before or after having a baby.
- There are some criteria made for the maternity pay and if preggies meet the qualifying criteria then only she will be able to get the benefits of maternity leave.
Returning to work after delivery
After you leave it is the time of returning to work in the office. You are all done with maternity leave and pay and now what next. This is time to claim your rights when you return to your workplace after maternity leave. Here are the options which you have to go through after returning to the workplace:
- If maternity is taken for six months or less, then the employees have the right to return to their job on the same terms and conditions as before they left.
- If the employees have taken the maternity leave for more than six months then they are allowed to work for the same position as their previous job. However, if it is not possible then they are allowed to do a similar job where terms and conditions must be as good.
- If an employee wants to return to work before taking their full maternity entitlement, they should inform their employer of their intentions at least eight weeks before the date they intend to return.
- If an employee wants to amend their hours or duties on their return from maternity leave, they have the right to make a flexible working request.
Unfair treatment in the workplace
Sometimes the maternity leave and pay can make the preggies to tolerate the unfavourable treatment in the workplace. If this is done then:
- If the employee feels that something being treated unfavourably, then they are allowed to talk about the issue informally.
- If the conversation does not work then she has the right to file a complaint which is known as a grievance against the person. A written notice is given against him/her and saying how the victim is facing the situation.
- The employee could consider making a complaint to an employment tribunal. There are time limits of three-month for bringing a claim to a tribunal. However, this time limit can pause if Early Conciliation is taking place.