Hey Congratulations!

You must be busy preparing for the bundle of joy. Planning your savings, planning the future of the baby, changing your habits to suit the baby and most of all preparing to say goodbye to your sleep. After all, having a baby is life changing and involves a lot of planning and thinking through. From personal to professional life, everything needs to be worked out. However, don’t get anxious, while you are all over the place preparing to welcome your kid into the world, you can enjoy employee benefits offered by the company as per the law. Take a deep breath, read this through, and take the smart step towards motherhood. 

What are your maternity rights at work?

According to the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961, if you are employed in an organisation and are pregnant, you are entitled to several rights, and mandatory paid leave.

These further include a lot of benefits and entitlements available, along with benefits that you can claim if you’re pregnant and unemployed or on a low income. Below mentioned are a list of rights that you're entitled to during pregnancy: -

  • All pregnant women are entitled to a compulsory full paid leave of 26 weeks for the first two children. While, women delivering their third child or beyond, are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leaves. This is applicable to all establishments with a team strength of 10 or more people. You can also combine other leave like casual leave, privilege leave, etc too. In addition, a medical bonus worth INR 3,500 is also made available.
  • Pregnant employees must be exempted from night shifts or any activities that would adversely affect the health or pregnancy process, ten weeks before delivery.
  • Two nursing breaks are permitted after returning to work until the child is 15 months old. In addition, she should not be assigned any difficult tasks that can affect her health.
  • Women who adopt a child that is below the age of 3-months are allotted with 12 weeks of maternity leave. This is applicable to surrogate mothers as well.
  • Pregnant and lactating mothers are also eligible to receive a cash incentive of INR 6000 from the government to cover the wages lost and to ensure best nutritional health.
  • All these benefits are applicable only to those women who have worked in the organization for a minimum of 80-days before their due date. 
  • A woman can neither be fired for being pregnant nor can she be asked to resign.



How to claim for these maternity benefits?

During the initial days, a verbal intimation to the employer of the pregnancy should be fine; however, to officially claim the leave and benefits, you have to write a formal letter asking for the same.
The letter should include everything from your tenure in the company, your expected due date, starting and ending dates of your leave, and so on.

What is maternity insurance? How is it helpful?

It is common knowledge that raising a child leads to an increase in your expenses, but have you ever considered the cost of pregnancy and labour? The cost of a normal delivery along with hospitalization cost in a decent hospital, itself ranges anywhere between INR 60,000 to INR 2 Lakhs.

Therefore, as a responsible parent, you must prepare, keeping in mind the costs related to pregnancy and the delivery. This is where maternity cover in your health insurance plan comes of use! Below mentioned is a list of factors that such a plan covers:
Pre-hospitalization expenses (covered up to 30-days prior to delivery)

  • Post-hospitalization expenses (covered up to 60-days after delivery)
  • Expenditure related to both caesarian and normal delivery, and post-delivery complications
  • Room charges, nurse and surgeon charges, anaesthetist consultation charges, medical practitioner fees, and emergency ambulance charges
  • An extension to infants who are diagnosed with a congenital disorder or some critical illness

However, you cannot claim for maternity benefits until after 2-6 years of buying the policy, making it is essential to buy maternity cover as early as possible. 

What are the rights you should be aware of?

  • Women don’t need to pay anything to avail pregnancy services in government hospitals
  • After delivery, all women (Below Poverty Line families and SC/STs) are entitled to cash payment (in all government health facilities and some private hospitals)
  • Free transport service to the hospital and back, along with meals during the stay at the hospital is available
  • There are provisions to extend all the benefits until your newborn is one year old
  • Sick infants are entitled to receive free treatment, free medicines, free diagnostics, and free transport (home to health facilities, between facilities, and back home)
  • All women are eligible to receive INR 6,000 in cash on regular antenatal check up, institutional delivery, and vaccination of kids, unless they have received a paid leave and maternity benefits from their employers


In conclusion, the govt. has a lot of provisions, rights and benefits for the expecting parents to make your pregnancy a easier affair. All you need to do is reap these benefits. Apart from this, be calm, happy and keep smiling.

Early financial planning can help you manage the costs of raising a child. Secure your child's future by providing some of the best child investment plans, insurance policies, education & creating separate savings account for them.

All the best, you are going to be a great parent!

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Disclaimer: This article is for information purpose only. The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and its employees.