Contract workers employed by government establishments eligible for 26 week maternity leave

Supreme Court: Years of service as contract worker to be included in calculating gratuity period

30 March 2018: The Supreme Court, overturning a Chhattisgarh High Court order, has ruled that the gratuity of daily wage earners, who get regularized during the course of their employment should also include the period they spend as contract workers, if there is no break in service.

The Chhattisgarh High Court had dismissed the plea of Netram Sahu, who had worked as a contract worker with the government for around 22 years and subsequently regularized, where he worked for 3 more years before retirement. The Chhattisgarh government had denied him gratuity citing that workers are eligible for gratuity only if they complete 5 continuous years in regular service.

Supreme Court pulls up government for not implementing welfare measures for construction workers

20 March 2018: The Supreme Court has directed the central and state governments to implement the welfare provisions as promulgated in the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act (BOCW Act), 1996, and the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996 that govern the welfare of construction workers in the unorganized sector.

The directions were issued while the court was hearing a public interest litigation case filed by National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour. The case was filed in 2006 regarding non-utilization of the cess fund lying with the Construction Workers Welfare Board, the statutory body which is responsible for levying cess on real estate firms for the welfare of construction workers as per the BOCW Act, 1996.

Kerala High Court: Contract workers employed by government establishments eligible for 26 week maternity leave

20 March 2018: In a landmark judgment, the Kerala High Court has ruled that women employees working in the government sector on contract basis should also be entitled to maternity leave of 26 weeks as available to permanent employees under the Service Rules, applicable to state and Central Government workers.

Workers working under various central and state government schemes had petitioned the state government demanding that they be given maternity leave in accordance to the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act as opposed to the current 90 days leave.

The government argued that the grant of 180 days of leave to contract employees who are employed for short terms such as one year period would be detrimental to the projects.

However, rejecting the contentions of the government, the court held that limiting maternity leave benefits to only 90 days amounted to discrimination against contract workers and directed the government to implement the provisions of Maternity Benefit Act in its letter and spirit.

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