Even after Child Care Leave (CCL) was approved by the Panjab University Senate and Syndicate, teachers of PU remain the only government employees missing out on its benefits. Till date, PU employees have not been able to avail the benefits of the scheme, initiated under the Centre.
The CCL scheme, introduced in the sixth pay commission (2008), states that all women employees of the central government are eligible to apply for leave for a maximum period of two years for taking care of their minor children. After the University Grants Commission (UGC) came out with a regulation for the same in 2010, the agenda was introduced in the PU Syndicate and Senate, which agreed to it, but with a rider that it could be availed only for a period of one year instead of two.
However, the Resident Audit Officer (RAO) of the university objected to the CCL Scheme stating that under Section 31(1) of the Panjab University Act, 1947, the provisions of the CCL could be incorporated only after approval for the same was given by the Government of India.
Till date, the file is pending with the MHRD and no formal approval has been received by the university.
After the objection, the university sought legal opinion from the University Legal Retainer S.C. Sibal, who had reiterated that approval of the Central Government was not needed, considering the CCL had already been approved by the university’s governing bodies i.e. the Senate and Syndicate. Sibal had stated that the CCL rules had been framed by the approval of the Syndicate and Senate, hence there was no need to send the rules for approval from the Central Government.
In the meeting of Panjab University’s Board of Finance (BoF) on February 15, 2016, the CCL has once again been included in the budget for the upcoming financial year. This comes in as a ray of hope for the teachers, but the ones who have already availed this leave after the Vice Chancellor’s approval are left in the lurch as they are yet to receive their salaries for the leave period.
The Senate, while approving the Child Care Leave had also said that CCL would be applicable retrospectively to cover the pending cases of Child Care Leave where the administrative sanction has already been granted by the authorities. The RAO, who has refused to comment on the matter has still maintained that CCL rules cannot be implemented until a formal approval is obtained from the Central Government.
“I had applied for child care leave in July,2015 and it was approved by the VC in September. I was on leave from 24 September,2015 to 24 January,2016 and have not received my salary for these four months,” stated Inderdeep Kaur Aulakh from the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET).
According to Professor Akshaya Kumar, President of the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA), “UGC carried forward the Center’s scheme and it is being availed everywhere. Panjab University has already made many compromises to Child Care Leave as compared to the center’s scheme. The Vice Chancellor has agreed to it yet it cannot be availed by the staff.”