The child care leave announced by the government in February has failed to make any impact in the lives of woman employees of the state health department. According to health department figures,not a single woman of around 37,000 woman staff consisting of nurses,midwives and doctors has been able to take the child care since the notification was issued.
The reason: The bureaucratic apathy. Senior health officials said the finance departments order has not been worked out till date. If this order has to be implemented then they have to look after all the woman employees record and issue orders to all the district,sub division and state-run medical colleges,which is a herculean task. After receiving the order from the finance department,we will work on the modalities of the order so that the woman employees can get their benefits, said Dr B R Sathpati,Director,Health Services.
However Finance Secretary H K Dwivedi said the finance department has already issued the order and send to the respective departments for implementation.
Considering the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission,the finance department had issued the order on February 15 this year stating the woman government employees having minor children may be granted child care leave for a maximum period of two years during their entire service period for taking care of their children up-to two children up to 18 years of their age for rearing or looking after various needs of their children like examination ,sickness etc.
The order even states that during the period of such leave,employees shall be paid leave and it may not be granted for less than 15 days in a spell.
Anita Majhi,an auxiliary nurse midwifery (ANM) working at Belpahari block primary health care centre in West Midnapore,said she was not even aware of such an order. My child is now 18 years old and I need a leave to see that he fares well in Madhyamik examination next year. If such a leave has been entitled for us ,then obviously we should take the child care leave, she said.
Rita Halder,a medical officer working at a rural sub centre in Jhalda in Purulia,said that 10 days after the notification was issed,she had spoken with the officials of the state health department whether she can take the child care leave for her one-year-old son as he is suffering from cancer and have to be taken outside side for treatment. There was no clear answer from the department and my leave application was not granted, she said.