Following a high court division bench ruling, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Punjab, has issued a fresh circular restricting maternity leave for contractual workers to 90 days.
The August 2016 ruling overturned a single-judge bench order on a 2013 petition of a Sangrur teacher, which had held that there could be no discrimination on the grant of maternity leave benefits to employees.
The previous ruling had noted that the scheme under which SSA teachers are employed clearly laid down that the conditions of service should be similar to that of government schoolteachers. Hence, the contractual teachers were held entitled for 180 days maternity leave. The ruling was reversed on an appeal filed by the SSA authorities.
Director general, school education, who is state project director for the SSA, in a letter to district education officers has now said that the contractual teachers will not get six months maternity leave and will be entitled for only 90-day leave, as held by the HC division bench.
SSA/RMSA teachers’ union state president Ram Bhajan Chaudhary said they will be holding a state-level meeting to discuss the future course of action, and may approach the Supreme Court. Reena Singla, who filed the 2013 petition, said the circular amounted to “injustice” with teachers working on contract.