Grant maternity leave to ‘Ad hoc’ pregnant employees: CAT

New Delhi: In a ground breaking decision to safeguard rights of women, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) ordered the government to grant maternity leave of 180 days to all pregnant women “even working on contractual basis, ad hoc or temporary basis” and to accord them full pay during the period.

Representative image
Representative image

The order by CAT judge Praveen Mahajan stated, “The respondent-State is also directed to grant maternity leave to all the female employees with full pay for 180 days, even working on contractual basis, ad hoc or temporary basis.”

The decision came after a woman, Anuradha Arya, a ‘guest teacher’ at Government Girl’s Senior Secondary School, West Patel Nagar, Delhi filed a petition that they was not granted maternity leaves when she was pregnant in the year 2015-2016. The CAT ordered “to grant maternity leave to the petitioner with full pay for 6 months”.

The CAT based its ruling on a Supreme Court judgment of 2000 which said that women who constitute almost half of the segment of the society have to be honoured and treated with dignity in cases where they work to earn their livelihood.

‘To become a mother is the most natural phenomenon in the life of a woman.

‘Whatever is needed to facilitate the birth of child to a woman who is in service, the employer has to be considerate and sympathetic towards her and must realise the physical difficulties which a working woman would face in performing her duties at the workplace while carrying a baby in a womb or while rearing up the child after birth,’ the Apex court had said.

Arya had joined the school on September 15, 2014 and her appointment was renewed in July 2015.
At that time her pregnancy was at an advanced stage. Her request for maternity leave was rejected by the government.