Maternity and Work

Maternity Leave

The duration of maternity leave is 12 weeks (84 days) excluding weekly holidays, Poya days and statutory holidays. Out of these 12 weeks, 02 weeks maternity leave is before confinement (including the day of her confinement) and 10 weeks following the day of confinement.

In accordance with the Maternity Benefits Ordinance, 12 weeks, inclusive of all non working days, maternity leave is allowed. In line with the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, (No. 15 of 2018), the 12-week maternity leave is applicable in the case of birth of live child while the 6-week maternity leave is provided in the birth of non-live child. The earlier restriction, based on the number of third or subsequent birth, has been repealed. Now, irrespective of the prioer number of children, women workers are entitled to maternity leave of 12 weeks if the confinement results in the birth of a live child. 

Maternity leave is granted to a female worker upon providing a notice to her employer mentioning that her date of delivery is within a month or 14 days (in case of shop and office worker). After confinement, she must inform the employer, within a week, about her date of delivery for the purpose of ascertaining the number of days she is permitted to absent herself from the employment. She should also, specify the number of children she has.

There is no provision in law regarding extension of maternity leave in case of complications or sickness due to confinement or in case of multiple births.

Source: §02 of the Maternity Benefits Ordinance, 1939; §18(B) of the Shop and Office Employees Act, 1954


Maternity Leave under the Shop and Office Employees Act is fully paid leave while under the Maternity Benefits Ordinance, 6/7th (86%) of a worker's wages are paid for the period.

Maternity benefits are provided to a woman who has worked at least one hundred and fifty days within the period of one year, under the employer from whom she claims such benefit, immediately preceding the date of the notice that women may give to the employer before confinement.

Earlier, the law limited 12-week maternity benefits to women workers for the first and second child only. The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, (No. 15 of 2018) repeals this restriction. Now, the difference in maternity benefits (12 weeks or 6 weeks) is based solely on the birth of a live or non-live child. 

Source: §18(C) of the Shop and Office Employees Act; §3-5 of the Maternity Benefits Ordinance

Free Medical Care

Under the Health Services Act of 2000, maternity homes are established. Family Health Bureau, established under the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka is responsible for provision of comprehensive ante-natal and post-natal care. The medical care is available to all free of charge.

Source: Health Services Act, 2000

Regulations on Maternity and Work

  • 1954 සාප්පු හා කාර්යාල සේවක (රැකියා හා පාරිශ්‍රමික රෙගුලාසි) පනත / கடைகள் மற்றும் அலுவலக பணியாளர்கள் சட்டம் 1954 (வேலைவாய்ப்பு மற்றும் ஊதியம் பற்றிய ஒழுங்குவிதிகள்) / Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act, 1954
  • වර්ෂ 2000 සෞඛ්‍ය සේවා පනත / 2000 ஆம் ஆண்டு ஆரோக்கிய சேவைகள் சட்டம் / The Health Services Act, 2000
  • 1939 මාතෘ ප්‍රතිලාභ ආඥාපනත / 1939 ஆம் ஆண்டு மகப்பேறு நன்மை கட்டளைச்சட்டம் / Maternity Benefits Ordinance, 1939