Know Your Rights: Miscarriage Leave in India
In Know Your Rights, we simplify the rights you’ve been given, so you know how to exercise them.
In an effort to encourage people to talk more openly about taboo topics such as miscarriages, New Zealand’s parliament was considering a bill that would provide three days of paid leave for women who have had a miscarriage, as well as for their partners. There’s been no update since, but closer to home, how many of us know that we already have laws that entitle women to miscarriage leaves in India?
We asked a Human Resources (HR) professional of a well-known Mumbai-based MNC to explain provisions and how women can make use of them.
Am I entitled to a miscarriage leave?
In case of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, an employee is entitled to six weeks of paid miscarriage leave under the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017, immediately following the day of her miscarriage or, as the case may be, her medical termination of pregnancy.
Do I have to prove that I’ve had a miscarriage?
Yes, the HR will need a medical certificate from the doctor or the hospital stating that you’ve miscarried. It need not be submitted as proof to your immediate boss or reporting manager.
Am I entitled to confidentiality when I avail of miscarriage leave? In other words, how many people will know my business?
As mentioned above, only the concerned HR person needs proof of miscarriage. But you may want to communicate it with your boss to clarify why you’re going to be on leave, however you’re not liable to do it as per the law. Whether you want to tell the rest of your team or not, is your decision.
What are the provisions of a miscarriage leave?
Besides six weeks of paid miscarriage leave, employees are also entitled to an additional one month of paid leave in case of complications or poor health after a miscarriage. However, they will have to provide proof of ill health to HR to avail of it.
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How long do I have to be employed by a company to be entitled to miscarriage leave benefits?
To be eligible to avail of miscarriage leave, a woman must have worked at least 80 days in an organization over a period of one year before a miscarriage.
How many times am I allowed a miscarriage leave?
There is no limit on the number of times women are allowed miscarriage leave.
After I am ready to resume work, am I eligible to opt for flexi work hours, a work from home option, leave arrangements or any other benefits?
As per the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017, a company is not entitled to give any of the above benefits, but what they offer depends from company to company. If a woman does ask for it and the company can afford it, they are liable to offer her the services she has asked for.
Is miscarriage leave gender-neutral?
As per the law, men can’t avail of its benefits yet. However, upon asking, many companies do offer men a week off or more if they need it, but certainly not the six weeks women are entitled to.