Maternity leave can be granted to women government servant even if she is working on contractual basis, ad hoc/tenure or temporary basis

High Court of Uttaranchal: The Court while hearing a petition relating to the issue of maternity leave not been granted to the petitioner since she was a contractual employee working under the respondent, the Bench comprising of Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh, JJ., observed that even though the petitioner is appointed on a contractual basis she is entitled to maternity leave with full pay as per Section 5 of the Maternity Benefit Act read in conjunction with Rule 153 of U.P. Fundamental Rules. The petitioner has moved the court as her maternity leave was not sanctioned. However, the case of the respondents is that since, the petitioner was appointed on contractual basis, and working as a Lecturer (Sociology) hence, she was not entitled for maternity leave.

The Court rejecting the contentions of the respondent observed that in a welfare State it is the obligation of the State to ensure the creation and sustaining of the conditions congenial to good health therefore maternity leave, being social insurance benefit, is a key for maternal and child health and family support hence a employer should be considerate and sympathetic toward a working women and grant maternity leave with full pay for 180 days, even if she is working on contractual basis, ad hoc/tenure or temporary basis under the mandate of under Article 21 of the Constitution read with Article 42. The Court further stated that a female government employee is also entitled to Child Care Leave (CCL) for a child below 18 years of age, as per the recommendation of the 6th Central Pay Commission, of 730 days during the entire service. The Court also highlighted the provisions of paternity leave for a male government servant for a period of at least three weeks to enable the father to look after the mother and child. [Dr. Deepa Sharma v. State of Uttarakhand, 2016 SCC OnLine Utt 2015, decided on 15th December, 2016]

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