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Miscarriage leave: India already offers this legally, but is it implemented?

On paper, Indian law offers upto six weeks paid leave for miscarriage. But there are implementation loopholes.

March 27, 2021 / 10:55 AM IST

New Zealand Parliament-led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern approved legislation on March 24 that will offer employees three days' leave for stillbirth or miscarriage. This is irrespective of gender meaning that both partners can avail of the leave.

Interestingly, India is among the few countries that already have a legal mandate for the past 60 years to offer miscarriage leave, though it is currently available only to women. However, what is the key focus is the implementation loopholes.

The Maternity Benefit Act 1961 states that in case of miscarriage, a woman will be entitled to paid leave for six weeks immediately following the day of her miscarriage. Women are required to submit proof for miscarriage and wilful termination of pregnancy (abortion) is excluded.

Additionally, women suffering illness arising out of miscarriage shall, on production are also entitled to paid leave of upto one month on submission of relevant medical proofs.