What does the law say about maternity leave for a junior resident?



As per the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, The period of paid maternity leave (ÒMaternity BenefitÓ) that a woman employee is entitled to has been increased to 26 (twenty six) weeks. Further, the Act previously allowed pregnant women to avail Maternity Benefit for only 6 (six) weeks prior to the date of expected delivery. Now, this period is increased to 8 (eight) weeks. Maternity benefit of 26 weeks can be extended to women who are already under maternity leave at the time of enforcement of this Amendment.

The increased Maternity Benefit is only available for the first two children. The Amendment provides that a woman having two or more surviving children shall only be entitled to 12 (twelve) weeks of Maternity Benefit of which not more than 6 (six) shall be taken prior to the date of the expected delivery.

Diplomate of National Board (DNB) is the title awarded by the National Board of Examinations (NBE), an autonomous academic body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to candidates who successfully complete their postgraduate or postdoctoral medical education under it.

The leave rules for DNB students as per NBE under section 21 of the rules is given below:


3.1. A female candidate is permitted a maternity leave of 90 days once during the entire duration of DNB course.

3.2. The expected date of delivery (EDD) should fall within the duration of maternity leave.

3.3. Extension of maternity leave is permissible only for genuine medical reasons and after prior approval of NBE. The supporting medical documents have to be certified by the Head of the Institute/hospital where the candidate is undergoing DNB training. NBE reserves its rights to take a final decision in such matters.

3.4. The training of the candidate shall be extended accordingly in case of any extension of maternity leave being granted to the candidate.

3.5. Candidate shall be paid stipend during the period of maternity leave. No stipend shall be paid for the period of extension of leave.

4. Male DNB candidates are entitled for paternity leave of maximum of one week during the entire period of DNB training.

The DNB doctors are actually undergoing training though they are resident doctors by status. Since they receive stipends, they cannot be termed as employees, hence they are bound by the NBE leave rules and there is no clarity about the amendment extended to such autonomous educational institutions in respect of the student undergoing training course under their supervision.




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