Central Government employees have a 5-day working week. This indicates that they enjoy 104 holidays in a year, on account of weekends. Additionally, they are provided leaves in the form of three National holidays, two restricted holidays, and fourteen gazetted holidays. Civilian government employees also receive casual leave for 8 days, half pay leave for 20 days (that can be converted to medical leave), and earned leave for 30 days. There are a few other types of leaves admissible as well. The 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) has recommended changes in the leave and holiday schedule for Central Government employees.
All leaves and holidays entitled to government employees presently are described below in detail:
- Casual Leave (CL) - Casual leave is provided to government employees for attending to emergencies or unforeseen tasks. Currently, a Central Government employee is offered 8 days CL in a calendar year. The number can go up to 20 days for defence personnel, 30 days for Defence Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) and 10 days for industrial workers. Railways staff are granted CL between 11 to 13 days in a calendar year.
There have been several demands to increase the CL alloted to industrial workers to 15 days. Similarly, the CL for other employees have been requested to be increased to 12 days. There are also demands to offer CL to personnel in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) just like that offered to defence personnel.
The Commission is of the view that the system prevailing now need not be altered. Also, CAPFs are considered as civil forces and their service conditions are not similar to defence forces. Hence, the CLs for CAPF personnel will also remain the same.
- Child Adoption Leave - This leave is offered to a female employee when she adopts a child below the age of 1 year when she already has fewer than 2 surviving children. The leave duration is 135 days following the date of the adoption. There have been no demands regarding this benefit.
- Child Care Leave (CCL) - This leave is granted to a female employee for the purpose of caring for her minor child up to the age of 18 years. The leave duration is a maximum of 2 years, i.e., 730 days.
There have been several recommendations pertaining to Child Care Leave. This includes the following:
- Converting CCL to a “family care” leave
- Extending the leave for the care of a single male parent
- Extending the facility to mothers of differently abled children above the age of 18 years
- Liberalising the facility for single mothers
- Discontinuance of CCL as it disrupts the functioning of the office and promotes gender discrimination
CCL was first introduced as per the 6th Pay Commission. Subsequently, there have been many amendments to the offering within a short timeframe. It is treated like Earned Leave and is sanctioned in the same manner. It will not be offered more than three times in a calendar year.
After the facility was implemented, it was found that women employees treated the benefit like a Casual Leave and this resulted in frequent disruptions at work. The cap on the maximum number of times the leave can be availed in a calendar year has been instrumental in containing the absence from work.
Nevertheless, the CCL facility that was implemented as a welfare measure for female employees is being availed simply because it exists. Therefore, there needs to be an inhibiting clause that would prevent its misuse. So, the Commission is of the opinion that the benefit should be granted for the first year at 100% of the employee’s salary, and at 80% of the salary for the subsequent year. The Commission also recommends extending the benefit to single male parents. Another recommendation from the Commission is to extend the facility to single female employees for up to six times in a calendar year.
- Commuted Leave - The number of commuted leaves cannot exceed half the number of half-pay leaves due. Also, a medical certificate needs to be furnished for availing a commuted leave. There has been a demand to do away with the requirement for a medical certificate. However, the Commission did not pass the demand.
Earned Leave (EL)/Leave on Average Pay (LAP) - Currently, 30 days of earned leave is granted for a year to civilian employees. The number of earned leaves provided to defence personnel is 60 days. Earned leaves can be accumulated up to 300 days. There have been suggestions to increase the accumulation of the leave to 450 days. Also, requests have been raised to enable encashment of half the earned leaves after the employee has completed 20 years in service. Additionally, there are suggestions to delink encashment of the leave from Leave Travel Concession (LTC). Other suggestions that have been raised include the following:
- The ability to gift a certain number of earned leaves to spouse or colleague.
- Principals, teachers, etc. who are considered to be vacational staff have requested for the restoration of 10 days’ earned leave that was changed to 20 days’ half pay leave as per the 6th CPC.
The Commission will not be changing encashment guidelines of earned leaves. It also considers that the option of gifting the leave would defeat the purpose of the leave itself. However, the Commission recommends that vacational staff be provided EL of 10 days as opposed to half pay leave of 20 days.
- Extra Ordinary Leave (EOL) - This leave is granted to employees when no other leave is applicable and the employee specifically requests for the same in writing. This leave will not be reduced from the leave account. The employee is also not paid any leave salary when availing EOL. There have been no demands regarding this benefit.
- Furlough Leave - This leave is offered to defence personnel only for up to 60 days. It can be taken once every three calendar years. The pay of the employee during this time would be reduced by half. Although no demands have been raised regarding this leave, the Commission is of the opinion that this leave is a carry over from the pre Independence times. Since defence personnel are already receiving a substantial number of earned leaves and casual leaves, it is recommended to discontinue the furlough leave.
- Half Pay Leave (HPL)/Leave on Half Average Pay (LHAP) - Currently government employees are given 20 days of half pay leave for every year of service completed. This leave is credited in January (10 days)and July (10 days) every year. There have been demands to allow the encashment of HPL at superannuation. However, the Commission is of the opinion that this demand lacks merit.
- Hospital Leave - This leave is granted to Railway employees (Group C) in case they suffer from injuries or illnesses directly linked to risks due to official duties. Medical certificate is required to avail the same. 100% pay is offered to the employee for the first 120 days and half pay is given after that. This leave can be combined with other leaves the employee is eligible for. However, the total leave duration should not exceed 28 months.
There have been several demands to increase this leave so that it is unlimited for PBORs in the defence forces.
- Leave Not Due (LND) - This leave is granted to employees who do not have any half-pay leaves left and he/she requests specifically for Leave Not Due. A medical certificate is needed to avail this leave. The LND for the entire service is up to a maximum of 360 days. This will be debited against the half-pay leave that the employee earns. There have been no demands regarding this leave.
- Maternity Leave - This leave is granted to female employees, up to 180 days during the pregnancy period. The leave can go up to 45 days during the entire service of the employee for cases of abortion or miscarriage. Maternity leave can be combined with any other leave without furnishing any medical certificate for up to 2 years. There have been demands to increase the maternity leave to 240 days with 100% pay, followed by 120 days with 50% pay. It is seen that maternity leave was increased from 135 days to 180 days under the 6th CPC. The ‘period in continuation’ was also increased from 1 year to 2 years. So, there will be no further changes in the duration of the leave.
- Paternity Leave - This leave is granted to a male employee (with less than two surviving children) for a period of up to 15 days during the time his wife is recovering from a delivery. This leave is also granted to a government employee (with less than two surviving children) when he adopts a child below the age of 1 year. There have been several demands to increase the duration of this leave to 30 days.
- Sick Leave - This leave is granted to defence personnel who experience sickness due to service conditions. During the entire duration of hospitalisation, he/she will receive 100% pay. Beyond this limit, defence officers can receive sick leave with full pay and allowances for the initial 6 months. For the next 18-24 months, they will receive only the complete pay without any allowances. There are no such limits for Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR). There have been demands for the same sick leave provisions to be extended to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
- Special Casual Leave (SCL) - Special Casual Leave is given to employees when they are absent from duty due to participation in sports events, Republic Day Parade, cultural activities, Trade Union meetings, voluntary blood donation, etc. During the time of SCL, the employee receives 100% pay. This can be sanctioned retrospectively as well. There have been several demands to extend SCL to organ donors till they are healthy enough to resume work.
It is seen that SCL has been used widely to get away from duty. The government may impose the following restrictions to mitigate this issue:
- Review the purpose of the SCL thoroughly
- Limit the number of instances for which an employee can get SCL in a year
- Limit the number of days for which an employee can avail SCL in a year
- Special Disability Leave - This leave is provided to civilian employees when they are injured or disabled while on duty. The employee receives 100% pay for the first 120 days and 50% pay subsequently. This leave may be clubbed with any other type of leave that is admissible, provided that the total leave period does not exceed 24 months. There have been several demands to remove the upper limit of 24 months on the leave and offer full pay for the entire duration of the leave.
There are three types of leaves provided to defence/civilian employees that relate to work-specific illnesses/injuries. These are Hospital Leave, Sick Leave, and Special Disability Leave. The following has been recommended by the Commission:
- Special Disability Leave, Hospital Leave, and Sick Leave should be subsumed in a new type of leave that is provided for work related injuries/illnesses. This leave can be referred to as Work Related Illness and Injury Leave (WRIIL).
- The complete pay and allowances should be provided to employees for the entire time they are hospitalised.
Other provisions under WRIIL should be as follows:
- For civilian employees, personnel of Police Forces of Union Territories, and RPF employees the complete pay and allowances should be provided for the first 6 months following hospitalisation. Half pay should be provided for the next 12 months. The half pay period may be reduced to a full pay period after deduction of the corresponding number of half pay leaves from the employee’s entitlement.
- For defence officers, Indian Coast Guards, and CAPFs, full pay will be offered for the first 6 months following hospitalisation. They will be provided 100% pay for the subsequent 24 months as well.
- For PBORs of defence, Indian Coast Guards, and CAPFs, the complete pay and allowances will be offered with no limit on the period of provision of the benefit.
- If an employee is eligible for benefits under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923, the leave salary payable under WRIIL will be reduced by the compensation paid under the Act.
- When an employee is under WRIIL, he/she will not receive earned leaves or half pay leaves.
- Study Leave - Study Leave is granted to all government employees who have more than 5 years of service. The leave should be taken for pursuing further studies or undergoing a course that provides specialised training in the area of the individual’s duty as a civil servant. The maximum duration of the leave is 24 months for all employees, except for Central Health Service (CHS) officers who can avail 36 months of study leave. There have been no demands regarding this leave.
- Leave for Probationers - If a person is appointed to a permanent post and is on probation, he/she is eligible for all types of leaves that a permanent employee receives.
- Leave to Apprentices - An apprentice can take leave after furnishing a medical certificate. The leave salary will be 50% of the individual’s pay and the duration of the leave shall not exceed one month.
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