Maternity Benefit Act, 1961: How to apply for Maternity Benefit in India


Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 was an act that regulate the employment of woman in the establishment, company for the period before and after the birth of the child and to provide for Maternity benefit and certain other relevant benefit.

Basic objective of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

  • To protect the dignity of motherhood by providing complete and healthy care to woman and her child when she is not in a condition to perform her duty or job.
  • To give an assurance that her rights will be locked after while she is at home to take care of her child.

Applicability of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

  • The Act is applicable to the whole country.
  • The provision of the Act is effective since 12th Dec, 1961.
  • It applies to every establishment, Company, Factories, Shops & Establishment or plantation including those belonging to Government.

Amendment of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and its major effect

The Act was amended multiple time and last amendment was made on 2017. The Act is now called Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.

Extension of Leave period

  • As per the amendment, the maximum Maternity benefit period is extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
  • The Eligible woman employee can bifurcate the leave as pre and post delivery.
  • 8 weeks leave can be taken before delivery and remaining leave can be availed post delivery of the child.
  • The Woman expecting 3rd child, she is entitled to receive 12 week leave where 6 week can be taken before birth of the child.

Leave for Adopting Mother

  • As per the provision of the Act, a 12 week leave can be granted for the adopting mother.
  • The leave start from the day of adopting and is applicable for the baby below 3 month of age.

Leave for Commissioning Mother

The advancement of technology brings happiness to many families who were unable to conceive naturally.

As per the Act, a 12 week leave is granted to the biological mother who impact her egg to create an embryo which is than planted in another woman.

Leave for Miscarriage

In case of miscarriage or medical termination of the pregnancy, upon production of relevant proof, the woman employee is entitled to a leave of 6 week immediately from the date of miscarriage or termination and she will get the wages for the leave under maternity benefit.

You may also read in details about Bonus by clicking here.

Eligibility condition for Maternity Benefit under Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

As per the provision of the Act, a woman must have complete 80 days work in past 12 month and she will be entitled for daily wages for the period of her actual Absence of Maternity Leave.

Eligibility Condition for Maternity benefit under ESIC

  • 9 month continuous service under ESIC where contribution is paid for that period.
  • The woman employee need to complete 70 days of work in immediately preceding 1 or 2 consecutive period to get the Maternity benefit under ESIC.

Benefit provided by ESIC for Maternity

  • 26 weeks leave payment of 100% of daily wages in case of birth of a living child.
  • 26 weeks leave payment of 100% of daily wages in case of miscarriage after confinement.
  • 12 weeks leave payment of 100% of daily wages in case of miscarriage before confinement.
  • 4 weeks leave payment of 100% of daily wages in case of sickness arising out of pregnancy before or after confinement.
  • 26 weeks leave payment of 100% of daily wages in case of death of the ensured women.
  • 5000 given to ensured women or wife of a ensured person if there is no proper facility of ESIC available for confinement up to 2 confinement.
  • For 3rd confinement only 12 weeks leave payment of 100% of daily wages.

When woman can go on Maternity Leave

Before 8 weeks from the date of confinement. A proper written notice or mail along with Medical certificate of expected confinement from registered medical practitioner/or certified doctor of ESIC need to submit by the woman employee to the company (HR) regarding the expected confinement and her prayer for leave.

Employer Responsibility in case of Woman employee’s Maternity

  • Employer must inform every woman employee about the Maternity leave with wages benefits at the time of joining and Display the Maternity Benefit Act Abstract at the Notice board of the establishment.
  • It is unlawful to dismiss or discharge a woman on account of absence from the work during the period of leave that has been entitled to her under the Act.
  • The employer should pay the Maternity leave payment to employee at the rate of average daily wages for the period of absence.
  • Employer should help the employee to get the benefit under ESIC if the woman employee is covered under the ESIC.

Forms and documentation to avail Maternity Benefit

  • Form B: Medical Certificate attested by Medical Practitioner to confirm the expected date of confinement.
  • Form C: Medical Certificate attested by Medical Practitioner in the case of death.
  • Form D: Self attestation by employee to certify that she is not working under any establishment during the period in which she is on Maternity leave.
  • Form E: Form of receipt of Maternity benefit from establishment, Self-Attested by Employee.

Documents need to submit after Confinement to HR

  • Medical Certificate where the employee has undergone maternity care.
  • Discharge Summery.
  • Birth certificate of the baby delivered issued by Birth Registrar or Municipal Corporation.
  • Photograph of the baby.
  • Form 17: Issued as a proof of pregnancy by ESIC dispensary that need to submit at branch office of ESIC.
  • Form 18: Proof of Confinement.
  • Form 19: To apply for the Maternity Benefit that need to be submitted at ESIC Dispensary or branch office.
  • Form 20: In case of death of the ensured women and claim submitted by nominee within 30 days.
  • Form 21: (Certificate of Expected Confinement) – It will provided by the Dispensary Or Medical after examination by Medical Examiner.
  • Form 12A: Claim for Sickness under Maternity benefit.
  • Form 24 (B): In the event of the death of the Insured Woman during confinement leaving behind a child, Maternity Benefit is payable to her nominee on production of necessary documents in Form 24(B).

I have tried to provide all the relevant information that required to avail the Maternity Benefit. If you have any query please do comment below.

For more information you may also visit the official ESIC Site.


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