Industrial Relations And Labour Laws
Asso.prof.(commerce & Management)
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Why should not an employee be paid maternity leave pay during lock down period? Suppose an employee takes earned leave during lock down period. Shouldn't be paid pay for these EL days? He should be paid. Similarly, if maternity period falls during lock down, the woman employee should be paid salary. An employer can refuse to pay employees who have not come for work due to lock down. Though the government order is to pay full wages, the employer can say that if there were no work, he can not pay. Even the Supreme Court has made it clear that if any employer has not paid salary, no legal action shall be taken against that employer by the department. That implicitly says that employer need not pay salary during lock down period. However, if any employee is availing his eligible leave during this period, how can an employer refuse to pay for that leaves? He cannot. Similarly, maternity leave, being a right of a woman employee subject to the conditions as provided in the Act, should be paid leaves and the employer cannot refuse it.
I think no acts and/or law, either central or state made inoperative during the lockdown, no amendments to provisions of existing acts sought to be implemented. Therefore there is no reason to see ML can be denied subject to other conditions of the act. Lockdown has been imposed under the different act i.e.Disaster Management Act,2005 prescribing certain procedures to be adhered to by public and others. There is no stipulation in the 'Lockdown' directives which takes away the rights of a pregnant employee under the MBAct.