Alarmed by the spike in coronavirus cases in the Secretariat and other state-run offices, government officials on Monday demanded inclusion of special provisions in the state’s policies to assure quarantined staff that their period of isolation will not affect their take home salaries.
In a representation to Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar on Monday, the Maharashtra State Gazetted Officers Federation (MSGOF) sought the tweaking of the state’s leave policy to include a “special leave” provision for any employee who might need to stay away from office due to Covid-19 or due to a perceived exposure to the virus.
The MSGOF — a representative outfit for all Class A and Class B employees — further argued that the “special leave” provision should be applied to even employees who are not diagnosed as infected by the virus but have either been advised or have decided to self-quarantine.
The demand was a part of the memorandum submitted by the MSGOF to the chief secretary on Monday, following a symbolic protest seeking an urgent withdrawal of a condition that has made 100 per cent attendance mandatory for Class A and Class B employees of the government.
At least 16 people serving in the state Secretariat (Mantralaya) have succumbed to Covid-19 so far. Under the Mission Begin Again guidelines, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government has made 100 per cent attendance mandatory for Class A and Class B employees from September 1 onwards in government offices; prior to which it was only 15 per cent. Apart from the Secretariat, employees also staged protests inside Collectors’ offices across all districts. The MSGOF has cautioned that officials will be forced to resort to a “stop work” protest if the condition is not rolled back. Complaining about the lack of precautionary measures and violation of social distancing norms in government offices for the surge in cases, the federation, in its representation, has sought the paring down of the attendance norm to 30-50 per cent across departments and offices.
It has further sought strict work from home duties for employees with comorbidities and pregnant women, while also raising a similar argument for those above 50.
Among other special provisions, the MSGOF wants a Covid-19 insurance cover for all employees, Rs 50 lakh as ex-gratia compensation and a job assurance on compassionate grounds to families of serving employees who succumb to the illness.
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