Over 51 lakh women across the country are beneficiaries of the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) maternity welfare social scheme.

Learn all about maternity benefits available under the ESI scheme

The Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) scheme provides social security benefits to those employed in blue-collar jobs in factories and establishments. Under the aegis of the Ministry of Labour, the ESI stipulates and enforces the rules and regulations every company, factory, or establishment that employs more than 10 people must follow. 

One of the various schemes is the maternity benefit available to working women, which safeguards their interests during and after pregnancy. It ensures they are not at risk of losing their livelihood on account of their absence and are guaranteed a safe and inclusive working environment. 

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Key features 

  • All women earning up to Rs 21,000 per month (Rs 25,000 for those with disabilities) are eligible for ESI benefits.
  • The employer’s contribution to ESI is 4.75%, and the employee’s contribution is 1.75%.
  • To be eligible for maternity benefits, the woman employee should have made a contribution for at least 80 days in the preceding two consecutive contribution periods.
  • Rate of maternity benefit is calculated at 100% of average daily wages.
  • The average daily wage is computed using the three months immediately preceding the maternity leave.
  • Maternity benefits are available up to 26 weeks, but the benefits start only eight weeks prior to the expected date of delivery.
  • If a woman has two or more surviving children, the maternity benefits are available for 12 weeks, of which a maximum of six weeks can precede the expected date of confinement.
  • The duration (in either case) can be further extended by 30 days on medical advice, in case of sickness due to pregnancy or premature birth.
  • Maternity benefits are also applicable in case of a miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy (MTP).
  • Maternity benefits are also available in case of legal adoption of a child of up to three months of age.
  • If adequate medical facilities are not available at a place governed under ESI, a medical bonus of Rs 7500 is payable to the employee on account of confinement.
  • A medical bonus is valid for two confinements only.
  • In the event of the death of the insured employee during pregnancy, the maternity benefit is payable to her nominee.

It should be noted that women who are receiving maternity benefits under the ESI scheme cannot claim similar benefits under the provisions of Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 and the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act of 2017. 

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Last words

The ESI scheme is the most promising social security welfare scheme in India and one of the largest in the world, with over 51.2 lakh women beneficiaries. As a part of the Ayushman Bharat initiative, insured women will also be able to avail of facilities from hospitals, healthcare centres, and dispensaries enlisted under the Central Government scheme.

Today, ESI is available in 566 districts spread across 34 Indian states and union territories. It aims to cover over 700 districts by 2021 and will also encompass other private institutions and employees of municipal corporations. 5 Simple Things To Know About Maternity Insurance In India