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No Maternity Benefits For Woman Giving Birth After Twins: Madras HC

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The Madras High Court has ruled that if a working woman gives birth to twins in her first delivery, she will not be entitled to maternity benefits in the event of a subsequent delivery. This means, in case she gives birth to another child after twins in her first delivery, the child will be treated as the third child. At present, a working woman can avail of maternity benefits only for her first two deliveries.

Key Takeaways:

  • The first bench comprising of Chief Justice A P Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad in Madras High Court ruled that a working woman will not be entitled to maternity benefits in the second delivery if she delivers twins during her first delivery.
  • As per the existing rules, a working woman is entitled to receive the maternity benefits only for her first two deliveries.
  •  In the case of twins, there is some time gap between the consecutive births and the woman, anyway, has to deliver twice. This amounts to two deliveries and hence the child after this will be considered a third child.

Second Delivery After Twins In First To Be Comprehended As Third

“As per existing rules, a woman can avail such benefits only for her first two deliveries. Even otherwise it is debatable as to whether the delivery is not a second delivery but a third one, inasmuch as ordinarily when twins are born they are delivered one after another, and their age and their inter-se elderly status is also determined by virtue of the gap of time between their arrivals, which amounts to two deliveries and not one simultaneous act,” the court said.

For a woman employee to be eligible for maternity leave, she should have completed 80 days of working in the organization where she is seeking the benefits. The Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017 has extended the earlier 12 weeks’ leave to 26 weeks.

Also Read: Maternity Leave Policy In India: How Helpful Is It To Working Women?

The ruling came after a single judge had extended 180 days of maternity leave and benefits to a woman worker at CISF. This incident took place on June 18, 2019, and the benefits were extended under the rules governing the Tamil Nadu state government. The Ministry of Home Affairs had appealed that since the woman is a member of CISF, she should be given maternity benefits in accordance with the Central Civil Services Rules. Therefore, Tamil Nadu state government rules won’t apply to her.

When the appeal came up for hearing at the Madras High Court, the bench comprising of Chief Justice A P Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad found that the second delivery after twins in the first delivery is technically the third. Therefore, maternity benefits won’t apply for such kind of delivery. “This fact, therefore, changes the entire nature of the relief which is sought for by the woman petitioner, which aspect has been completely overlooked by the single judge”, the bench said.

Maternity Leave Policy In India

For a woman employee to be eligible for maternity leave, she should have completed 80 days of working in the organization where she is seeking the benefits. The Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017 has extended the earlier 12 weeks’ leave to 26 weeks. This duration can be bifurcated for the pre and post-pregnancy period, whereby eight weeks of leave can be availed before giving birth. Even for the mothers who have adopted a child, there is a provision of 12 weeks’ leave. For the government women employees, the maternity leaves are given as paid leave of 180 days for the first two children.

Also Read: Why Our Society Still Has An Aversion To Single Parenting