Ranchi: Aarti, who is on maternity leave has become mother recently, but she is very tensed these days. The reason which is spoiling her the happiest moment in life is a phone call from her bank. The bank manager informed Aarti that it has been three months, and loan installments are not being deposited into her account, so it will be under NPA (non-performing asset).
Actually, Aarti is on maternity leave for 26 weeks, but even being a paid one, she is not getting salary since she started availing it.
The Education Department, Jharkhand does not give salaries to its female employees who remain on maternity leave, during the period, and only after six months when she resumes the job, the process of salary begins.
But, all these will now, make Aarti’s loan NPA, and not only she has to pay fine, but her loan credit points will be in negative.
“Then also, it takes more than a month or two to get salary started,” informed Sushmita Banerjee, who resumed job in the month of February and her salary could only get started again in April.
For some others, like Soni, who had taken maternity leave, in 2016, it has been more difficult. Soni, after resuming job, had to sit on dharna, before District Education Officer (DEO), to get her salary started again.
“Which means, you do not get salary, when you need it most. There is surgery cost, and new natal care, and several other expenses of medicines and tests. And as most of the teachers have got bank loans too but even being paid leave, we do not get salary on time,” rued Banerjee.
Like any other state, Jharkhand’s education department has got more number of female employees than any other departments.
According to National Study on Working Conditions of Teachers, Report for Jharkhand published in 2015, there were 33198 regular female teachers for elementary education in Jharkhand in the year 2011-12, and 7984 female regular teachers for secondary classes. There were two more occasions when teachers were recruited on regular basis in Jharkhand, post 2011-12. Additionally, in January 2016, more than thirteen thousand new regular teachers have also joined and among them half are females. Making total number of female regular teachers more than 60,000 thousands in the state.
While, in an estimate, around 500 teachers avail maternity leave across state, every year.
“First we do not get it when we need it most, and thereafter when it get accumulated because of corruption in Jharkhand, babus want commission to clear it,” added Soni.
It’s a similar kind of decision like union government, in which sanitary pad has been taxed, considering the menstrual cycle pain of fairer sex a luxury.
However, there is no such rule in Jharkhand Police, and its employees’ salaries do not get discontinue during maternity leave.
“Our salary did not get discontinued during maternity leave and we never faced such humiliations while being on leave or after resuming job,” claimed Kusum Kumari, a constable.
Ironically, education department’s higher officials have no idea about it, “I have not heard about it, but if it is happening, there must be orders from personal department,” Aradhana Patnaik, Secretary, Human Resource Development (HRD) told eNewsroom, over phone.
When contacted Personal Department, they said, there is no such order, “Maternity leave is a paid leave and like other leaves, in which salary did not get cut, it should also be continued, there is no such order to not to give salary during maternity leave from us,” Sunit Kumar, Under Secretary reacted to eNewsroom.
Note: The names of teachers have been changed on request.