We all have heard about maternity leave, but not much about miscarriage leave. This medical phenomenon is not talked about as comfortably as other important life events.
As per a recent study to a recent study, it is revealed that India has the highest stillbirth rates in South Asia. According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than 25 lakh babies are stillborn every year. The condition of Indian Women in this regard is more disheartening as some media reports suggest that women in India are at a higher risk of miscarriages, especially during their first pregnancy.
The physical and emotional trauma, a women experience could be detrimental to their workplace productivity. Therefore, Indian lawmakers added a clause for miscarriage leave in the Maternity Benefit Act, which came into existence in 1961. Under the act, up to six weeks of paid leave is offered to women for miscarriage. The purpose behind offering this leave is to give women the time, they need to cope with the grief both physically and psychologically.
Continue reading to know more about the leave policy and how one can claim them.
Miscarriage leave policy rules in India
India has been the first country in the world to introduce the miscarriage leave clause in the Maternity Benefit Act. India have a legal mandate for the past 6 decades to offer paid leaves to women post miscarriage. The leave policy is currently available only to women, not the husband.
The Maternity Benefit Act 1961 states that a woman will be entitled to a paid leave for six weeks immediately following the day of her miscarriage. The Act states that miscarriage is defined as the expulsion of the contents of a pregnant uterus at any period before or during the 26 weeks of pregnancy. To avail of the leave policy benefit, women are required to submit proof of miscarriage to their company HR or immediate boss. Further, women suffering from any illness or medical complications because of miscarriage are also entitled to a paid leave of an extra month on submission of relevant medical proofs. However, women who willfully terminate their pregnancy are excluded from receiving these leave benefits.
Miscarriage leave policy rules for central government employees
Female Central government servants are issued leave for up to 180 days during the pregnancy period.
As per revision and updates made by the 7th Central Pay Commission, Maternity leave can go up to 45 days for female central government employees in case of the death of a child soon after birth or a stillborn baby. However, after receiving several suggestions and consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, now a special maternity leave of 60 days is granted to a female central government employee in case of miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of a child soon after birth.
The condition of death of a newborn baby may be defined as up to 28 days after birth. Whereas, a child born with no sign of life at or after 28 weeks of pregnancy may be defined as stillbirth.
The benefit of maternity leave shall be admissible only to female central government employees with less than 2 surviving children and for a child delivery taking place in an authorized hospital.
Women can avail of these leaves during their entire service for cases of miscarriages and abortion.
Females working in central government can combine this leave with any other leave without presenting any records or medical certificate for up to two years.
Miscarriage leave policy rules in India for private companies
Women in private companies are also entitled to six weeks of paid leave post miscarriage and an additional one month of paid leave in case of poor health and medical complications due to a miscarriage. To be eligible to avail of miscarriage leave in private companies, a female employee must have worked for at least 160 days in an organization over a period of one year before a miscarriage. To claim leave policy in private companies, a woman has to produce medical documents stating the termination of her pregnancy.
In case of miscarriage, a female employee in private companies, on the production of a medical certificate, be entitled to leave with payment at the rate of maternity benefit for six weeks instantly following the day of miscarriage.
Miscarriage leave for husband in India
As of now, no legislation in India provides paternity leave (either to central government employees or private sector employees) to allow the husband to lend support to his wife in her period of recovery from miscarriage. As per law, men can’t avail of miscarriage leave benefits yet. However, upon request, many companies do offer husbands a week off or more if they need it.
Documents required for miscarriage leave
To avail of the benefit of miscarriage leave, a woman can show a medical certificate to her HR from a doctor of an authorized hospital stating that she has miscarried. In some cases, women can also inform their immediate boss regarding the same, however, it is not mandatory.
How to apply for miscarriage leave
If any female employee is it is government or private sector has suffered from a miscarriage and wants to avail of miscarriage leave, she can simply request their employer in writing along with a medical certificate.
To summarize, provisions for paid leaves post miscarriage are much appreciated, but the implementation of it in every organization will be the key. Keeping in mind the potential physical and emotional trauma caused due to miscarriage or death of a child soon after birth has a far reaching impact on the mother’s life, it is a bare minimum to give them support to overcome the grief and heal from it.