Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, continues to deprive its female faculty of their legitimate right to avail special childcare leave as mandated by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
According to the UGC’s regulations, which have been accepted by the university in toto, all women teachers having children may be granted leave up to two years for taking care of their children. The childcare leave, for a maximum period of two years (730 days), may be granted to women teachers during the entire service period on the lines of central government women employees. In case the childcare leave is granted for more than 45 days, the university or college may appoint a part-time guest (substitute) teacher after informing the UGC. On November 1, 2011, the Punjab government had introduced a special childcare leave of one year in addition to the maternity leave for all women employees while the Chandigarh administration extended the facility to its female staff in March 2012.
The university has around 60% female faculty, of which a large number are entitled to the scheme and are eagerly waiting for its implementation.
To implement the scheme, the varsity had constituted a committee in 2013, which is yet to take a final decision. Suman Mor, a faculty member of the department of environment studies, is a mother of two.
She said childcare leave was the most discussed issue amongst young female faculty members.
“Young mothers have to strike a balance between work and family. The implementation of the scheme will go a long way in making things easier for them,” she added. The issue has also been taken up by the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) on several occasions, but nothing has been done so far.
PUTA president Rajat Sandhir, who took up the issue in a recently held senate meeting, said childcare leave was a genuine demand of the faculty and they would keep pressurising the authorities till the scheme was implemented.
When contacted, dean of university instructions Professor AK Bhandari said a sub-committee had recommended the implementation of the scheme on the lines of central government women employees. He said the PU authorities would expedite the process after the winter break so that the scheme was implemented in toto.
“The delay was due to administrative reasons, but the university is committed to provide the faculty all its dues,” added Prof Bhandari.