Central government employees may have to give up the string of gazetted holidays they enjoy but women — who make up nearly 8 per cent of the employees — can expect some more understanding at their workplace.
The Sixth Pay Commission has recommended the concept of staggered working hours for women employees that would give them the flexibility to work either early or late depending on the situation at home.
The panel also pushed for giving women total leave of up to two years to take care of their minor children. “Child care leave should also be allowed for the third year as leave not due,” the Commission, chaired by Justice B.N. Srikrishna, said.
The Commission counted the growing number of women employees who need time to look after their dual responsibilities in a better manner as one of the reasons why it did not want the Centre to revert to the six-day week.
It recommended raising maternity leave from 135 days to 180 and compulsory establishment of crèches where employees, male or female, could leave their children while they work.
But the panel came down heavily on the continuation of more than two dozen gazetted holidays.
“There can be no rationale for observing a large number of closed holidays in the government along with a five-day week,” it said, pushing to scrap all except three national holidays.
“It is also very true that in a secular nation, religious festivals should be treated as personal to each individual employee without the government offices having to be closed on that account,” said the Commission, which asked the government to treat its report as a package rather than accept some recommendations and reject the rest. Instead, government employees could be given eight restricted holidays, it said.
The Srikrishna report acknowledged that on a few occasions, it might not be possible to open the office due to local considerations like lack of transport. In such cases, it argued in favour of giving heads of department the option of declaring the office closed for a maximum of two restricted holidays.
“This will ensure that government offices remain open for a larger number of days even though a few employees may be absent on certain specific occasions,” it said.