Beijing Law Review
2013. Vol.4, No.4, 168-173
Published Online December 2013 in SciRes (
Open Access
Maternity Benefit Practices at NGOs in Bangladesh:
Laws and Implementation
Omar Faroque1, Md. Rafiqul Islam2*, Md. Obaidur Rahman2, Md. Mominul Islam3
1Department of Business Administration, Northern University Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladsh
2Department of Population Science and HRD, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
3Department of Law, Northern University Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Email:, *,,
Received October 1st, 2013; revised November 2nd, 2013; accepted November 28th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Omar Faroque et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
Maternity leave is an important benefit to the female employees and it plays important role to increase
organizational loyalty, efficiency and job satisfaction, particularly in the Non-Government Organizations
(NGOs). The objective of the study is to assess the laws and implementation of the maternity benefits at
the diverse NGOs on different working echelon in Bangladesh. Descriptive statistics and zero order cor-
relation method have been performed using the data haul out from one hundred female employees ex-
periencing at least one child at the different NGOs in Kurigram District, Bangladesh. Among all female
employees, salary structure and the managerial position are not satisfactory at NGOs in Bangladesh, al-
though higher education of females plays an important role to get the job. In case of maternity benefits, all
of them have got three or four months as maternity leave period and a significant number have not got any
types of payment during maternity leave (27%), have not enjoyed maternity leave properly (24%), and
have been terminated, sent away or expelled etc. due to maternity leave (19%). In addition, an inverse re-
lation of duration of maternity leave with age (26.4%) and length of service (34.1%) has also been identi-
fied i.e., duration of maternity leave decreases with increasing employees’ age and length of services. In
our study, evidently there are no NGO practices laws of maternity benefit properly in Bangladesh. There-
fore, every NGO should administer and implement the Laws of maternity benefit properly.
Keywords: Maternity Benefit; Descriptive Statistics; Zero Order Correlation; Non-Government
Organizations (NGOs); Bangladesh
NGO (Non-Government Organization) is very well known
and their activities are wide spread in Bangladesh (Begum et al.,
2004). NGO refers to “association voluntary formed by indi-
viduals for the purpose of rendering welfare and development
services outside Government Structure: drawing funds from
national and international sources; and functioning within the
legal framework of the country” (Halim, 1993), “non-profitable
organization” (Rahman, 2000). In Bangladesh, there were 1925
NGOs in 2004 (NFB, 2004) and the number is 2198 in 2012
(BFF, 2012). In recent years, many countries have observed a
large increase in female labor force participation rates and
mothers with young children increasing the most (Dustmann &
Schonberg, 2008, 2011); the labor force participation of women
worldwide is 43% and the number of women workers has also
gone up in the last 20 years in Bangladesh. NGOs have con-
tributed greatly to the employment generation in Bangladesh
(World Bank Group’s Database), mostly in women employ-
ment and in 2010, the 126 (Micro Finance Institution) MFI-
NGOs created direct 37,773 women employments (BMFS,
2010). Thus, maternity leave is an issue, since the majority
women have child at their lives (Anam, 2008).
“Maternity Benefit” means leave with wages granted to a
female worker because of her giving birth to a child (Paul,
2008). Maternity is a condition which requires differential
treatment to achieve genuine equality and, in this sense, it is
more of a premise of the principle of equality than a dispensa-
tion (ILO, 1996). Generally, maternity leave is available to
mothers only (Thevenon & Solaz, 2013). At first, maternity
leaves were introduced to protect the health of working mothers
and their newborn child (Thevenon & Solaz, 2013), to protect
female workers from heavy work conditions, and later, to pre-
serve job opportunities of young mothers who want to return
job after birth (Zhelyazkova, 2013). Parental leave or maternity
leave is an important employee benefit (Dessler, 2008). Mater-
nity leave is important as future cognitive and emotional de-
velopment (Harris, 1983; Lewis & Brooks-Gunn, 1979); to
improve the welfare of children, and expansions, increase in the
quantity and quality of child-parent interactions (Dustmann &
Schonberg, 2008, 2011). It is also important for the health and
wellbeing of mothers and children; child development; family
formation and functionality; women’s labor-force attachment
and career progression; and gender equality in paid employ-
ment and the household (Galtry & Callister, 2005; Carneiro et
*Corresponding author.
al., 2011; Whitehouse et al., 2008) and reducing maternal and
child mortality (Younes et al., 2012). Mostly it is important to
facilitate breastfeeding and to prevent some adverse health
consequences for the mother and child (Barger et al., 2005);
raise the labor market participation (Bainchi, 2000; Gauther et
al., 2004; Sayer et al., 2004; Kan et al., 2011) and avoid many
unobservable attributes that affect child development (Dust-
mann & Schonberg, 2008, 2011; Carneiro et al., 2011). Mater-
nity benefits promote children’s development (Hays, 1996;
Bainchi et al., 2006), increase level of gender inequality (Hook,
2010; Lalive et al., 2011) and leave regulations guarantee the
pre-birth job and offer financial support (Lalive et al., 2011).
There is significant evidence that child developmental out-
comes are generally better if mothers do not work, or do not
work full time, in the first year of life; and vice-versa (Brooks-
Gunn et al., 2002; Ruhm, 2004).
In Bangladesh, workers got Maternity Leave for 12 weeks
(Maternity Benefit Act, 1939), then 16 weeks (Ministry of La-
bour and Employment, 2006) and now 24 weeks (Department
of Finance, 2012) with full pay whereas some Asian countries
like Iran 6 months, India 84 days (180 days for employees of
Central Government), Viet Nam 4 months; Singapore 16 weeks,
Indonesia, Korea, China and Cambodia 90 days; Sri Lanka 12
weeks, Saudi Arab 10 weeks; Yemen, Malaysia and Philippine
60 days; and UAE 45 days (ILO, 2010; Department of Person-
nel and Training, 2008; Sadek, 2012; BNG Legal, 2010); some
developed countries like Germany 42 weeks, Sweden 40 weeks,
Norway 38 weeks, Greece 34 weeks, Canada 29 weeks, Finland
29 weeks and Japan 26 weeks. In USA, the Family and medical
leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) mandates up to 12 weeks of (poten-
tially unpaid) job protected leave, including parental leave, for
many American workers. Other developed countries provide
leave between 11 to 26 weeks as Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
France, Ireland, Italy, Netherland, New Zealand, Portugal,
Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom (Long, 2012; Ray et
al., 2009). In the South America, maternity leave is paid as
Brazil, 120 days in private and 180 days in public sector; Chile,
Cuba and Venezuela 18 weeks; Costar Rica 16 weeks, Argen-
tina, Bolivia and Peru 90 days; Panama and Belize 14 weeks;
Antigua, Barbuda and Uruguay 13 weeks; and Colombia, Haiti,
Mexico and Paraguay 12 weeks each. In the African countries,
maternity leave is paid as South Africa 4 months, Congo 15
weeks; Egypt and Libya 90 days; Algeria, Cameroon, Chad,
Morocco, Mali, Senegal and Togo 14 weeks; and Ghana, Nige-
ria and Zambia 12 weeks each (ILO, 2010; Pautassi & Rico,
2011). At present, Australia introduced an 18-week paid mater-
nity leave scheme starting from 2011 and UK paid 52 weeks
which is the longest in the world (Thevenon & Solaz, 2013;
AusGov, 2010; NHS Staff Council, 2013).
There are huge inequalities in maternity leave privileges
across different countries. On one hand, countries in Northern
Europe; such as Sweden, Norway or Germany; mandate very
generous paid leave and long periods of job protection after
birth. On the other hand, there are few countries, such as United
States, which have no paid leave mandate and offer little job
protection (Carneiro et al., 2011; Schober, 2012). In the global,
Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain, Swit-
zerland etc. in Europe; Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico,
Peru, Venezuela etc. in South and North America; Algeria,
Cameroon, Congo, Egypt, Morocco etc. in Africa; and India,
Indonesia, Iran, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arab, Sri
Lanka, Jordan etc. in Asia provide 100% benefit; like these
countries, Bangladesh also provides 100% benefit to the female
workers. In some countries, cash benefits are only available for
a certain number of births. In Malaysia, cash benefits are pro-
vided for a women’s first five children; in Egypt, three times
during a spell of employment; whereas in Bangladesh, only for
two children in the whole employment (ILO, 2010).
In Bangladesh, there was some discrimination found in ma-
ternity leave administration in few sectors. It was seen in the
garment sector that most women were restricted to leave their
jobs after the birth of their children and if they hunted to start
work again in the same factory they would have to start as new
employees with lower wages and salaries instead of returning to
their former positions; and some owners provided leave to their
employees but did not pay them as per the provisions of the
Law (Anam, 2008). This study shows a scenario of the mater-
nity benefits practices at the different NGOs on the world con-
text as well as local in Bangladesh. Such kinds of studies are
very poor in Bangladesh. This study helps to fill up the existing
research gap. The objective of this study is to evaluate the laws
and implementation of the maternity leave at the different
NGOs on different working position in Bangladesh and also
identify the level of termination, discharge, dismission and
discrimination during employees leave period.
Laws of Maternity Leave
International L aw s: Duration of Leave
“…a woman to whom this Convention applies shall be enti-
tled to a period of maternity leave of not less than 14 weeks
[Convention No. 183, Article 4(1)].
Members should Endeavour to extend the period of mater-
nity leave referred to in Article 4 of the Convention to at least
18 weeks” [Recommendation No. 191, Paragraph 1(1)].
With due regard to the protection of the health of the
mother and that of the child, maternity leave shall include a
period of six weeks compulsory leave after childbirth, unless
otherwise agreed at the national level by the government and
the representative organizations of employers and workers
[Convention No. 183, Article 4(4)].
To the extent possible, measures should be taken to ensure
that the woman is entitled to choose freely the time at which she
takes any non-compulsory portion of her maternity leave, be-
fore or after childbirth” [Recommendation No. 191, Paragraph
Cash Benefits
Cash benefits shall be provided, in accordance with na-
tional laws and regulations, or in any other manner consistent
with national practice, to women who are absent from work on
leave” [Convention No. 183, Article 6(1)].
Amount and Duration
Cash benefits shall be at a level which ensures that the
woman can maintain herself and her child in proper conditions
of health and with a suitable standard of living” [Convention
No. 183, Article 6(2)].
Where, under national law or practice, cash benefits paid
with respect to leave referred to in Article 4 are based on pre-
vious earnings, the amount of such benefits shall not be less
than two-thirds of the womans previous earnings or of such of
Open Access 169
those earnings as are taken into account for the purpose of
computing benefits” [Convention No. 183, Article 6(3)].
Where, under national law or practice, other methods are
used to determine the cash benefits paid with respect to leave
referred to in Article 4, the amount of such benefits shall be
comparable to the amount resulting on average from the ap-
plication of the preceding paragraph” [Convention No. 183,
Article 6(4)].
Where practicable, and after consultation with the repre-
sentative organizations of employers and workers, the cash
benefits to which a woman is entitled during leave referred to
in Articles 4 and 5 of the Convention should be raised to the
full amount of the womans previous earnings or of such of
those earnings as are taken into account for the purpose of
computing benefits” [Recommendation No. 191, Paragraph 2]
(ILO, 2010).
Local Laws: Right to, and Liability for,
Payment of Maternity Benefit
1) Every woman employed in an establishment shall be enti-
tled to and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of
maternity benefit in respect of the period of eight weeks pre-
ceding the expected day of her delivery and eight weeks imme-
diately following the day of her delivery:
Provided that a woman shall not be entitled to such maternity
benefit unless she has worked under the employer, for a period
of not less than six month immediately preceding the day of her
2) No maternity benefit shall be payable to any woman if at
the time of her confinement she has two or more surviving
children, but in that case she shall be entitled to the leave to
which she would otherwise be entitled [Section-46].
Procedure Regardi ng Pa yment
of Maternity Benefit
1) Any pregnant woman entitled to maternity benefit under
this act may, on any day, give notice either orally or in writing
to her employer that she expects to be confined within eight
weeks next following and may therein nominate a person for
purposes of receiving payment of maternity benefit in case of
her death.
2) Any woman who has not given such notice and has been
delivered of a child, shall within seven days, give similar notice
to her employer that she has given birth to a child.
3) When a notice referred to in Sub-section 1 or 2 is received,
the employer shall permit the women to absent herself from
work from the day following the date of notice in the case men-
tioned in Sub-section 1; form the day of delivery in the case
mentioned in Sub-section 2 until eight weeks after the day of
4) An employer shall pay maternity benefit to a woman enti-
tled thereto in such one of the following ways as the woman
desire, namely:
a) for eight weeks, within three working days of the produc-
tion of a certificate signed by registered medical practitioner
stating that the woman is expected to be confined within eight
weeks of the date of the certificate, and for the remainder of the
period for which she is entitled to maternity benefit under this
act within three working days of the production of proof that
she has given birth to a child; or
b) for the said period up to and including the day of delivery,
within three working days of the production of proof that she
has given birth to a child, and for the remainder of the said
period, within eight weeks of the production of such proof; or
c) for the whole of the said period, within three working days
of the production of proof that she has given birth to a child:
Provided that a woman shall not be entitled to any maternity
benefit or any part thereof, the payment of which is dependent
upon the production of proof under this sub-section that she has
given birth to a child, unless, such proof is produced within
three months of the day of her delivery.
5) The proof required to be produced under Sub-section 4
shall be either a certified extract from a birth register under the
births and deaths registration act, 2004 (XXIX of 2004) or a
certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner or such
other proof as may be accepted by the employer [Sction-47].
Amount of Maternity Benefit
1) The maternity benefit which is payable under this act shall
be payable at the rate of daily, weekly or monthly average
wages, as the case may be, calculated in the manner laid down
in Sub-section 2, and such payment shall be made wholly in
2) For the purpose of Sub-section 1 the daily, weekly or
monthly average wages, as the case may be, shall be calculated
by dividing the total wages earned by the woman during the
three months immediately preceding the date on which she
gives notice under this act by the number of day she actually
worked during the period [Section-48].
Restriction on Termination of Employment of a
Woman in Certain Cases
If any notice or order of discharge, dismissal, removal or ter-
mination of employment is given by an employer to a woman
within a period of six month before and eight weeks after her
delivery and such notice or order is given without sufficient
cause, she will not be deprived of any maternity benefit to
which she would have become entitled under this chapter [Sec-
tion-50] (Ministry of Labour and Employment, 2006).
Amended Maternity Leave
Where a female Government servant applies for maternity
leave, the authority mentioned in rule 149 or, rule 150, as the
case may be, shall grant such leave for a period of six months
from the date of commencement of the leave or her confinement
for the purpose of delivery, whichever is earlier”. This amend-
ed leave was effective from 09 January, 2011 (Department of
Finance, 2012).
Data and Methods
This is a cross sectional studies involving 100 female em-
ployees of all ages who have at least one child and are experi-
enced in maternity leave extracted from various non-govern-
ment organizations (NGOs) in Kurigram District, Bangladesh.
Data on some selected socio-economic and maternity leave
related factors have been collected through questionnaire
method during November to December, 2012. To fulfill the
objective, descriptive statistics and zero order correlation
method have been utilized in this study. Initially, the descrip-
tive statistics has been used to explore the current situation of
Open Access
socio-economic and maternity leave related characteristics of
the respondents and finally, zero order correlation method have
been employed to estimate the existence relationships among
them. The analyses of the data have been made using the statis-
tical software SPSS-20 version.
Results and Discussion
The results of descriptive statistics have been demonstrated
in Table 1 where the frequency with percentage distribution of
Table 1.
Socio-demographic and maternity leave related characteristics of em-
ployees at NGOs in Bangladesh.
Characteristics Frequency Percentage
Age Group
20 - 24 years
25 - 29 years
30 - 40 years
SSC pass
HSC pass
Current Place of Living
Monthly Salary
TK. 10000
TK. 10100 - 15000
>TK. 15000
Level of Present Job
Managerial personnel
Field worker
Worth/Sk il l of Employee
Under training
Length of Present Service
1 - 2 years
3 years
4 years
5 years and above
Rule of Maternity Leave at NGOs
For 1st children
For 1st and 2nd children
Duration of Maternity Leave
3 months
4 months
Leave Permissible
From the date of joining
After conformation
Payment of M a ternity Leave
With full pay
With half pay
Without pay
Style of Maternity Le av e
Before 50% and after 50%
Properly Enjoyed Maternity Leave
Termination, dismiss or discharge
due to Maternity Leave
the selected socio-demographic and maternity leave related
characteristics of employees at NGOs in Bangladesh is dis-
closed. It is observed from Table 1 that most of the female
employees (58%) are belonged to the 25 - 29 years of age
groups. Also, 24% and 18% employees are in the 20 - 24 years
and 30 - 40 years of age groups respectively. There are 24%,
27% and 49% employees who have completed SSC, HSC and
Higher level of education. It implies that higher education plays
a vital role to get the job at NGOs in Bangladesh, especially for
females. Among all employees, 58% and 42% are currently
lived in sub-urban and rural areas respectively. Again, there are
46%, 41% and 13% employees who get TK. 10000, TK.
10100 - 15000 and >TK. 15000 as monthly salary respectively.
Clearly, the salary structure of the employees is not good
enough because the livelihood costs is rapidly increasing in
Bangladesh. So, it is important to increase the salary structure
of employees. It is also observed that the level of job of female
employees is not satisfactory. Only 2% employees are manage-
rial personnel. In case of officer and field worker, both contains
equal personnel (49%). Of all employees, the majorities (55%)
are experienced personnel and the rests are in under training
(5%) and trained (40%). Again, there are 23%, 39%, 20% and
18% employees whose length of present service is 1 - 2 years, 3
years, 4 years and 5 years respectively. It implies that the
number of employees decreases with increasing the length of
services. In case of maternity leave practices, it is observed that
only 1% employees have got the maternity leave for first chil-
dren but the rests (99%) have got this leave for first and second
children, which implies that NGOs of Bangladesh follow the
rule of government in this case. But in case of duration of ma-
ternity leave practices, they don’t follow the governments’ rule.
Although the governments’ rule of duration of maternity leave
in Bangladesh is six months, NGOs give three or four months
leave which has been observed in this study. Although the ma-
jorities (71%) have got four months as maternity leave, 29% of
employees have got three months. About all (99%) have got
this leave from the date of joining but 1% has got after the
conformation of job. Clearly, it is also positive sign for job
satisfaction. It is also observed that the majorities (73%) have
got any type of payment of maternity leave where 67% get full
payment and 6% get half payment of leave, but a remarkable
number of employees (27%) have not got any types of payment
during leave. Since cash benefits of maternity is legal rights of
employees, every NGO should have to give the full payment
system. However, every NGO in Bangladesh gives the before
50% and after 50% maternity leave which is observed in this
study. Although, most of the employees (76%) have enjoyed
maternity leave properly, a remarkable number (24%) have not
enjoyed properly. In addition, 19% employees have been ter-
minated from NGOs in Bangladesh due to maternity leave. So,
it is important to ensure the job of employees and NGOs must
follow the governments’ rule of maternity leave.
The Table 2 depicts the results of zero order correlation co-
efficients of socio-economic and maternity leave related char-
acteristics of employees at NGOs in Bangladesh. It is found
from the results that employees’ age is significantly correlated
with education, monthly salary, length of present service and
duration of maternity leave. Moreover, a significant correlation
has been found between education and monthly salary, monthly
salary and length of service, length of service and duration of
maternity leave respectively.
There are 61%, 71.2% and 58% positive correlations of em-
Open Access 171
Table 2.
Zero order correlation coefficients of socio-economic and maternity
leave related characteristics.
Age Education
Age 1 0.610
Education 1
Salary 1
Length of
Service 1
Note: The value of () indicates the ρ value.
ployees’ age with education, monthly salary and length of ser-
vice, but 26.4% negative correlation with duration of maternity
leave respectively. Clearly, education, monthly salary and
length of service increases with increasing the age of employ-
ees but in case of duration of maternity leave, it has a reverse
relationship. A positive correlation between education and
monthly salary (83.9%) and monthly salary and length of ser-
vice (26.3%) but a negative correlation between length of ser-
vice and duration of maternity leave (34.1%) has also been
found. It clarifies that monthly salary increases with increasing
education and length of service respectively. Despite increasing
length of services, duration of maternity leave decreases. How-
ever, the relationships of these factors have been shown in Fig-
ure 1 for making clear understanding.
Conclusion and Recommendation
In this study, about half of the female employees belong to
the 25 - 29 years of age groups (58%) and have higher level of
education (49%). Although higher education plays a vital role
to get the job particularly for females at NGOs in Bangladesh,
the salary structure of the employees is not satisfactory because
the living cost is rapidly increasing in this country. In addition,
the level of job of female employees is not satisfactory. There
are only 2% managerial personnel. However, the majorities are
trained (40%) or experienced (55%) personnel. It is also re-
markable that the number of female employees decreases with
increasing the length of services. In case of maternity leave
practices at NGOs in Bangladesh, almost all employees (99%)
have got this leave for first and second children and they have
got three or four months as maternity leave period. Clearly, the
governments’ rule about duration of maternity leave is six
months in Bangladesh but no NGO follows this rule properly.
Moreover, a remarkable number of employees have not got any
types of payment during maternity leave (27%), have not en-
joyed maternity leave accurately (24%), and have been termi-
nated, discharged or dismissed etc. at their send-off period
(19%). There has also found a strong positive correlation of
employees’ age with education (61%), monthly salary (72.1%)
and length of service (58%); education with monthly salary
Monthly Salary Length of Services
Education Age
Duration of
0.712 0.020
Figure 1.
Diagram of Zero Order Correlation Coefficients among the selected vari-
(83.9%); and monthly salary with length of service (26.3%)
respectively. But, a negative correlation of duration of mater-
nity leave with age (26.4%) and length of service (34.1%) has
also been found, which clarifies that duration of maternity leave
decreases with increasing employees’ age and length of ser-
vices. Therefore, it is recommended that every NGO should
practice the statute of maternity benefits accurately. The find-
ings of this study would be very helpful to the NGOs and Gov-
ernment; and other businesses to implement proper maternity
benefits policies at their organizations to ensure the satisfaction
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