Contractual Employees Cannot Be Denied Maternity Leave: Calcutta High Court

Posted On - 12 March, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva

The Calcutta High Court in WPA 29978 of 2013 with CAN 4 of 2020(Old CAN 982 of 2020), recently ruled that differentiating between contractual and permanent employees regarding maternity leave would amount to discrimination, potentially endangering both the mother and fetus. The case involved a petitioner, employed as an Executive Intern at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on a contractual basis, who was refused maternity leave. The petitioner argued that the Maternity Benefits Act of 1961 superseded her employment contract, and RBI, an employer of more than ten people, was subject to the provisions of the said Act. It further observed that the RBI fell under the Shops & Establishments Act and observed that denying maternity benefits to the petitioner created discrimination and violated Article 14. The Court emphasized the importance of maternity benefits for the well-being of both mother and child, ruling in favour of the petitioner and directing the RBI to provide compensation in the form of leave with pay for the denied leave period.