The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Maternity Benefit Act), regulates the employment of women in factories and other establishments for a certain period before and after childbirth. It provides for maternity benefits, including maternity leave with wages, medical bonus, nursing breaks, etc. There is no wage limit for coverage under this Act nor any restriction with regard to the type of work a woman is engaged in. This Act applies to women who work in factories, mines, plantations, shops, and establishments in which more than 10 people are employed.16
This Act provides for paid maternity leave of 26 weeks for up to two children and paid maternity leave of 12 weeks for more than two children. Adoptive and commissioning mothers are also entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave from the date of adoption. A crèche facility is mandatory for every establishment employing 50 or more employees.
While 15 days of paternity leave is authorized for male employees working within the government/ public sector, it is not obligatory for the private sector. Large private companies tend to have their own policies specifying the paternity benefits extended to their male employees.