nathraoDENIED MATERNITY BENEFITS, EMPLOYEE FILES LABOUR PLAINT
Commissioner asks firm to reinstate her in the position from which she was fired and ensure all dues are cleared
Though the government has amended the law and extended maternity benefit for female employees to six months, many companies do not seem to be following it. Multiple complaints from female employees about their services being terminated after taking maternity leave or their employers denying them salaries, have been filed with labour courts in Pune and Mumbai. While the hearing for many cases is going on, the labour commissioner has ordered an architecture firm from Pune to reinstate their employee and clear the dues. Forum for IT Employees (FITE), an organisation working against discrimination against such employees, has now decided to start an awareness campaign on this backdrop.
Rutuja (name changed to protect identity) had joined KTGY, a planning and architecture company, in July 2014. In 2016, she realised that she was pregnant. So she informed her immediate bosses about her condition and told them the tentative date from which she would be going on leave. While her due date was in December, she was advised to take rest by the doctor from November 10 due to medical reasons. So she sent an email to her supervisors updating them about her condition and went on leave. She delivered her baby on November 30 and everything was fine till she applied for extension of her leave due to medical reasons
Speaking to Mirror, she said, “I was unwell and so was my child. So I requested my employers to extend the leave further. While they allowed me to do that they also clarified that it will be an unpaid leave. When this period was over, I informed my boss that I will be joining on April 20. My boss said that he needed to talk to me before that. So accordingly I went to office and joined on that day. After working for the entire day, my boss called me and told me that they have terminated my services. I was shocked to hear this as till then even during the leave my boss was communicating me with work related queries and I used to reply as and when I could. I sent mails to every possible authority but no one replied. So I finally decided to approach the labour commissioner with the complaint.”
After hearing both the sides the labour commissioner has ordered the company to reinstate Rutuja and clear all her dues till the date she joins. However, despite the order she still hasn’t heard from the company.
Assistant labour commissioner Nikhil Walke said, “While investigating her case ,we found out that this company had meted out similar treatment to another employee. While they had sanctioned this other employee’s leave, they had not paid her salary for the leave period. So considering this situation we sent a notice to the company and asked them to clear all her dues. Even in Rutuja’s case, we have asked the company to reinstate her and pay the dues. If the company fails to do so then we will take further action.”
He further highlighted that the number of such cases has been increasing in corporate companies. He said, “We look at corporates as entities abiding by all the rules. But it has turned out that this is not the case. We have received complaints from employees not getting salary during the leave, and also about harassment during this period as well as cases of leave being denied. The hearing for these cases is in process but they need to abide by the law.”
Considering the situation FITE has decided to start a campaign to create awareness on the issue. Elavarasan Raja, general secretary, FITE, Maharashtra, said, “Almost 5 to 6 employees from various companies in Pune and Mumbai have approached us with the complaints. Most of the cases are about companies not giving them salary during leave and denying them maternity benefits. We are educating these employees about the law and are helping them register the cases. Considering the situation we have also decided to start an awareness drive in the month of April.”
█ We look at corporates as entities abiding by all the rules. But it has turned out that this is not the case
People entitled for facilties should be bold enough to fight for rights while always being a good employee and contributing to growth of the organisation.
Laws are there to help and in many cases favourable judgement /solutions are received.
From India, Pune
KK!HRThere has always been attempt to deny the employees what is legally due and payable and different tactics like threatening, coercing to resign etc are used to deny even the statutory benefit. Individual employees find it difficult to counter such situations and sooner or later abandon all hopes of fair treatment and move further. The efforts of organisations like FITE is laudable, as IT is an area well known for exploitation. In addition to approaching Labour Commissioner may consider approaching the State Women's Commission who also take active interest to protect the women rights.
From India, Mumbai