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Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 - Introduction

Indian Laws and Regulations Related to Health

Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

(53 of 1961)
[12th December, 1961]


The object of maternity leave and benefit is to protect the dignity of motherhood by providing for the full and healthy maintenance of women and her child when she is not working. With the advent of modern age, as the number of women employees is growing, the maternity leave and other maternity benefits are becoming increasingly common. But there was no beneficial piece of legislation in the horizen which is intended to achieve the object of doing social justice to women workers employed in factories, mines and plantation.

ACT 53 OF 1961

With the object of providing maternity leave and benefit to women employee the Maternity Benefit Bill was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and subsequently it received the assent of President on 12th December, 1961 to become an Act under short title and numbers "THE MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT, 1961 (53 OF 1961)".

An Act to regulate the employment of women in certain establishments for certain period before and after child-birth and to provide for maternity benefit and certain other benefits.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Twelfth Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

1. Short title, extent and commencement.-

(1) This Act may be called the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
(2) It extends to the whole of India 1[* * *].
(3) It shall come into force on such date 2 as may be notified in this behalf in the Official Gazette,-

3[(a) in relation to mines and to any other establishment wherein persons are employed for the exhibition of equestrian, acrobatic and other performances, by the Central Government; and]

(b) in relation to other establishments in a State, by the State Government.

2. Application of Act.-4[(1) It applies, in the first instance,-
(a) to every establishment being a factory, mine or plantation including any such establishment belonging to Government and to every establishment wherein persons are employed for the exhibition of equestrian, acrobatic and other performances;

(b) to every shop or establishment within the meaning of any law for the time being in force in relation to shops and establishments in a State, in which ten or more persons are employed, or were employed, on any day of the preceding twelve months:]

Provided that the State Government may, with the approval of the Central Government, after giving not less than two month's notice of its intention of so doing, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare that all or any of the provisions of this Act shall apply also to any other establishment or class of establishments, industrial, commercial, agricultural or otherwise.

(2) 5[Save as otherwise provided in 6[sections 5A and 5B] nothing contained in this Act] shall apply to any factory or other establishment to which the provisions of the Employees, State Insurance Act, 1948 (34 of 1948), apply for the time being.


The word establishment has a wide meaning and it generally denotes a shop, a commercial organisation or a public institution, provided that they are not specifically exempted by the appropriate government from the applicability of the Act; Thomas Eapen v. Assistant Labour Officer, 1993 LLR 800 (Ker).


The words "except the State of Jammu and Kashmir" omitted by Act 51 of 1970,sec.2 and Schedule (w.e.f.I-9-1971).


1st November, 1963: vide Notification No. S.O. 2920, dated 5th October, 1963, Gazette of India, Pt.II, sec. 3, page 3735.


Subs. by Act 52 of 1973, sec.2 (w.e.f. 1-3-1975).


Subs. by Act 61 of 1988 sec.2 (w.e.f. 10-1-1989).


Subs. by Act 21 of 1972, sec.2, for "Nothing contained in this Act".


Subs. by Act 53 of 1976, sec.2 (w.e.f. 1-5-1976).



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Hi, my wife is working in an institute from last 5 years. She is 3 months pregnant on inquiring with their HR, they told that she has to resign serving 3 months notice period forget about the maternity benefits. Please let me know should I complain about this to the Inspector now or should I wait till the delivery happen. Please suggest.
Sudhakar2529  Thursday, August 20, 2015
I am 8 months pregnant and getting a chance to be employed as a government teacher.In this case I won't be able to work more than 20 or 25 days.If i go on maternity leave will I get the benefits or the state government will terminate me?
rashmi25913  Friday, May 1, 2015
I am 2 months pregnant and not keeping well. Can i take a month leave in the third month and then continue the job? Please suggest.
DS_2508  Thursday, April 16, 2015
I am working in a joint venture company. Now I am running 6th month of my pregnancy. I am working here for last 2 year 4 month. Joint venture is going to dissolve and my company is not willing to absorb me in the parent company, though 90% of the staff is absorbed. They also not willing to give me the maternity benefit and forcing me to resign. What should I do ? Whether they can terminate me lawfully at this stage even if the JV is dissolving ? please guide
debi2429  Wednesday, March 25, 2015
What is the meaning of this statement "Provided that the qualifying period of 4[eighty days] aforesaid shall not apply to a woman who has immigrated into the State of Assam and was pregnant at the time of the immigration. " Immigration is a term which is used when a person moves into a country to which they are not native in order to settle there, especially as permanent residents or future citizens. Since Assam is a part of India, how can immigration be possible in this case.
LopamudraDas  Tuesday, February 24, 2015
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Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 - Definitions