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Maternity Leave Benefits in India: A Guide for Overseas Employers

Offering maternity leave is an essential benefit for your employees that are new mothers, but if you are employing abroad you will find many different types and amounts of leave entitlements.  Most of these are statutory and will need to be factored into the cost of employment and employee availability prior to and following birth.

For your employees in India, you will want to know the exact amount of maternity leave to offer, and when it can be taken.  This guide will show you how to calculate the leave so you can remain in compliance.

Who is entitled to maternity leave benefits?

Any woman employee who has worked for the same employer for a minimum of 80 days during the 12-month period before the date of expected birth, is entitled to maternity leave.  The important point about this rule is that it has to be the same employer, and the 80 days cant be carried over to a new employer. 

What are the maternity leave benefits in India?

The maternity leave benefit was increased in 2017 to 26 weeks of paid leave, and 12 weeks to adopt a child younger than three months.  It can be taken pre-birth for up to 8 weeks, and the remainder after delivery.  For employees that already have two or more children, the leave period is shortened to 12 weeks.

Is there paternity leave benefits in India?

There are no paternity leave benefits in India by statute, and any leave would have to be offered in the employment contract.

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Client Case:  Who bears the cost of providing maternity leave benefits?

Context:

We had a client who asked who bears the cost of paid maternity leave, as many countries will have the benefit cost shared or paid in full by government assistance programs.  They also wanted to know if there was an application process required.

Solution:

We let them know that in India the employer bears the entire cost of the paid leave, and the employee simply needed to inform the employer of their expected childbirth.  This does create a challenge for some employers, where they will be paying a full-time employee’s salary for six months without their services, and does underscore the importance of the ’80- day rule’ to qualify.

Because some employers might be tempted to replace the employee, India prohibits the termination of employees on maternity leave.

Do you need more information about India?

If you are new to hiring in India, you might have other questions such as:

Can unpaid leave be offered beyond the 26 weeks if requested without the risk of termination?

Can an employee return to work earlier before the 26-week leave is used up?

Does India offer parental leave for the care of a child after maternity leave?

Because employee entitlements differ so much between countries, our clients often turn to us for guidance on meeting the local requirements for all types of benefits, and how to accommodate employees who are on leave.

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