Maternity Leave Is Your Legal Right, Here’s What You Can Do To Avail It

Your workplace cannot deny your right to paid maternity leave. In case they do break the law, here's what you can do.

Every working woman in India is entitled to six months of paid maternity leave if her employer has a workforce of ten or more employees, provided she has worked for a minimum of 80 days within the preceding 12 months.

Regrettably, numerous companies in India still fail to adhere to these government guidelines and neglect to offer paid maternity leave to their female employees.

I personally experienced this in the year 2022, and subsequently took legal action against my employer.

I want to share what I have learned from this experience so that if you find yourself in a similar situation, you can take the appropriate steps.

If your company denies you the right to six months of paid maternity leave, here is what you can do:

Obtain a Written Denial: Make an effort to obtain written confirmation from your company that they are denying you the paid maternity leave you are entitled to.

Gather Important Documents: Collect all relevant documents that substantiate your employment with the company, such as your salary slips, ID card, offer letters, and any other evidence that demonstrates your eligibility for paid maternity leave.

Verify Eligibility: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria, which require you to have worked at least 80 days within the previous 12 months and for the company to have ten or more employees. Gather any evidence that supports your eligibility.

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Seek Legal Assistance: If possible, consider hiring a lawyer to send a notice to your company. However, if you are unable to engage legal counsel, you can directly file a complaint with the labor law officer.

Labor Law Department Complaint: Once you have lodged a complaint with the labor law department, they will conduct an inspection at your workplace. If they ascertain the validity of your complaint and confirm your eligibility for paid maternity leave, they will issue an order instructing the company to provide the appropriate compensation. However, if your company disputes your complaint, there may be a hearing at the labor law office, and the final decision will be based on the outcome of that hearing. In some cases, companies may even escalate the matter to the high court, necessitating the engagement of a lawyer to represent your case.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fight for Your Rights: If your case is genuine, do not hesitate to stand up for your rights. By doing so, you not only secure what is rightfully yours but also set a precedent for other women facing similar challenges. This is an essential aspect of being an empowered woman.

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