The Madhya Pradesh High Court, in the case of Smt. Archana Pandey vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh, held that maternity leave should be granted to contractual employees, at par with regular employees.
In the present case, the state was denying maternity leave relying on the Contract of Appointment which stated that maternity leave can be granted to contractual workers only upon the completion on one year of service.
Justice Sujoy Paul noted that as per Section 27 of the Maternity Benefit Act, irrespective of the nature and tenure of employment, the employer is Constitutionally bound to provide all benefits of facilities which are required by the woman for childbirth.
Relying on similar judgments of other High Courts, the court noted that not granting maternity leave benefits to contractual employees would run contrary to the legislative mandate.
“Maternity leave does not change with the nature of employment. It is concerned with human right of a women and the employer and the Courts are bound under the constitutional scheme guaranteeing right to life, a right to live with dignity and protect the health of both mother and child, and after taking note of identical principle, petitions have been allowed.”
Read the Order here.