J&K Government approves 2-year child care leave for women employees
In a major decision beneficial for women employees, the state government has approved child care leave of two years in the entire service for taking care of the two eldest surviving children not above 18 years. Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has approved the decision and a formal order will be issued in the next few days by the state Finance Department which had submitted the proposal. The child care leave will be above maternity leave that is already available for the state’s women employees. At present the women employees in the state are only entitled to six months maternity leave. The approval by the Chief Minister states that a woman employee may be granted child care leave by an authority competent to grant leave for a maximum period of 730 days during her entire service for taking care of her two eldest children whether for rearing or for looking after any of their needs such as education, sickness and the like.
In the first maiden budget speech, Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu had said that the state government was aware of the difficulties being faced by the women employees to look after their children. Drabu had said that there has been persistent demand from women employees that they should be treated on par with the Central government employees with regard to admissibility of child care leave. The government is aware of the difficulties being faced by the women employees and had assured relief to the state employees.
The child care leave however, will not be granted for more than three spells in a calendar year. A woman employee during the period of child care leave shall be paid leave salary equal to the pay drawn immediately before proceeding on leave. The employee can under no circumstances proceed on the child care leave without prior proper approval of the leave sanctioning authority. Also, it shall not ordinarily be granted during the probation period but in case of certain extreme situations, the leave may be sanctioned provided that the period for which such leave is sanctioned is minimal. The leave is to be treated like the earned leave and sanctioned as such. Sundays, gazette holidays or other holidays notified by the government during the period of leave would also count for child care leave, as in the case of earned leave.