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Abhay Nevagi & Associates

THE EMPLOYEES’ STATE INSURANCE ACT, 1948 AND THE MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT 1961

  1. Who is entitled to Maternity Benefit under the Maternity Benefit Act 1961?

Every pregnant woman shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for the payment of maternity benefit at the rate of the average daily wage for the period immediately preceding the day of her delivery, the day of her delivery and any period immediately following that. For claiming maternity benefit though, the woman must have worked for 80 days or more in the 12 months preceding the date of her expected delivery (as mentioned u/s 5 of the Maternity Benefit Act 1961.

 

  1. What are the benefits that a pregnant woman is entitled to under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961?
  • For a period of one month immediately preceding the period of 6 weeks before the expected date of delivery and for any period during the said 6 weeks for which the pregnant woman does not avail leave of absence, no pregnant woman, shall be required to do any arduous work which involved longs period of standing or any work that is likely to interfere with her pregnancy or cause miscarriage etc.
  • No woman shall work in any establishment for 6 weeks immediately following the day of her delivery.
  • Pregnant woman shall be entitled to payment of maternity benefit at the rate of the average daily wage for the period of her actual absence. Such payment shall be at the rate of her average daily wage or 10 rupees per day, whichever is higher.

Average daily wage for the purpose of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 means average of wages of the pregnant woman, for the days she has worked during the 3 months immediately preceding her absence on account of her pregnancy

 

  1. When is a woman entitled to maternity benefits under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948?
  •  per Sec 5A of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, every woman working in an organization where the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 is applicable, shall be entitled to benefits under the ESIC if she qualifies as per the provisions u/s 50 of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948. In accordance to the provisions u/s 50 of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 r/w Rule 56 of the Employees’ State Insurance (Central) Rules 1950, a woman insured under Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948, shall be qualified to claim benefits under the Act for a confinement occurring or expected to occur in a benefit period, the contributions in respect to her were payable for 80 days or more in the immediately preceding two consecutive contribution periods.
  • As per Sec 5B of the, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, every woman employed in a factory or establishment, where the provisions of Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 apply shall be eligible to benefits under the ESI Act, if her wages for a month exceed Rs. 21,000/- (Amendment w.e.f. 01.01.2017) as specified u/s 2 (9) of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 and who fulfills the criteria of having contributed for 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery.

 

  1. What is the Benefit available to any woman under the ESIC Act?

In accordance with the provisions u/s 50 of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 r/w Rule 56 (2) of the Employees’ State Insurance (Central) Rules 1950, an insured woman entitled to benefits under the Act, shall be eligible to receive wages at the standard benefit rate in respect of the insured woman during the corresponding contribution period rounded off to the next higher rupee or Rs. 25/- (whichever is higher).

  1. If any woman covered under Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 is also entitled to wages from the employer?

As per the provision u/s 61 of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948, any woman who is entitled to benefits under the Act, shall not be eligible to receive any similar benefit under the provisions of any other Enactment. Hence any woman receiving wages during her maternity as per the provisions of the Act shall not be eligible to receive wages during her maternity under the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.

 

  1. Role of an Employer in case ESIC is applicable?

In cases where Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 is not applicable to the factory/organization or wherein the woman is not entitled to benefits u/s 50 of the ESIC Act, the employer is obligated to give benefits to such a pregnant woman as per the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.

In cases wherein, the provisions of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 are applicable to the pregnant woman, it is on the woman to serve a notice to the appropriate ESIC branch office (Form 17, 18, 19) as per the provisions under rule 87 to 89 of the Employees’ State Insurance (Central) Rules 1950. In such cases, the Employer has no role to play.

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