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I am currently working in a small private hospital in Bangalore. The question I have is regarding leave policy and deduction as a result of. Currently there is no leave given to any of the staff (medical & non-medical) except 1 weekly off (usually Sunday). Even festivals & national holidays are working days unless they fall on our weekly off. If anyone takes leave for whatsoever reason then pay is deducted and is calculated as follows = Net salary / no of days in the day * no of days off. When I checked with the owners, they cite Essential Services Act as the reason.
My question is are these practices ok given that hospitals come under Essential Services Act or there is room for improvement. Being a manager here, I am really stuck between unhappy employees and owners. I am looking for measures that we can implement to benefit all. Kindly suggest the same.
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Dear Ajay,

The Essential Services Maintenance Act,1968 is Central Legislation and it empowers the States to have their own Acts on the subject matter. As such you have got the Karnataka Essential Services Maintenance Act 1994 though since lapsed but stands revived recently. Of course services in health sector comes under the Act. The objective of the Act is to maintain certain essential services and normal life of the community and not to curb the legal rights relating to conditions of service of the employees of such essential services. So your owners' view is not correct in respect of grant of leave and holidays to your hospital employees. Your hospital is an establishment under the Karnataka Shops and Establishments Act and as such would be covered by the Minimum Wages Act,1948 and State National and Festival Holidays Act. So legally you are bound to grant them leave benefits under the Acts. Sanction of leave to the employees is totally different from grant of statutory leave benefits to them.
ESMA was passed for:- It is considered necessary to prohibit refusal to work in certain
essential services connected with production, generation, storage, transmission, supply or distribution
of water or electricity, transport service for the carriage of passengers or goods by motor vehicles and
any other service or employment or class thereof with respect to which the State Legislature has
power to make laws.
This act is to ensure essential service-hospital Fire etc and not to restrict normal leave applicable to employees under relevant State Acts.
Leave is to be granted as per Shops and Establishment act of the state.
Owners are either ill informed or ignorant of the law.
So read up the Acts applicable to your hospital and ESMA and brief them in writing about minimum standards and privileges to employees.
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