Good news for single Fathers……….however, there is still scope for more to be done in the field of Equal Parenting. The Railways will implement the government’s policy of providing leave to single male parents from April this year in order to promote gender justice and equality.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said as per the government’s policy, single mothers railway employees can get two years’ leave to take care of their minor children. Goyal said,
We have decided that single male railway servant can avail leave under the scheme from April onwards,” he told the House.
The Railways provides child care leave to women employees to take care of their minor children at birth or upto 18 years of age.
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The minister also said parents can avail leave of one year with full pay and another year with 80 per cent pay under the scheme. The Central government had on December 11, 2018 taken the decision to allow single male parents to avail of child care leave and Railways is implementing this from April this year, the minister informed the members.
In November 2015, the 7th Pay Commission report had recommended Child Care Leave (CCL) for single male parents, which was given only to women employees.
CCL is granted to women employees for a maximum period of two years (730 days) during their entire service for taking care of their minor children (up to 18 years of age).
The Pay Commission, headed by Justice AK Mathur, submitted its recommendations to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley then stating,
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The Commission notes that in the event a male employee is single, the onus of rearing and nurturing the children falls squarely on his shoulders.
Hence the extension of CCL to single male parents is recommended.
It also recommended CCL at 100 per cent of the salary for the first 365 days, and 80 per cent of the salary for the next 365 days. CCL was first introduced by the 6th Central Pay Commission.
The 2015 report also said there was a “palpable need” to bring in some inhibiting feature so as to ensure that only genuinely affected employees avail of this scheme. It said,
Towards this end, the Commission recommends that CCL should be granted at 100 per cent of the salary for the first 365 days, but at 80 per cent of the salary for the next 365 days.
The 900-page report further said that the Commission recognised the additional responsibility on the shoulders of employees who are single mothers.
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Accordingly, it is recommended that for such employees, the conditionality of three spells in a calendar year should be relaxed to six spells in a calendar year.
While this move is appreciated, we also urge the Indian Government to make Paternity Leaves mandatory even in cases of joint parenting. This will allow Men to become hands on fathers right from the birth of the child and they too can learn and co-parent the toddler from the beginning.
This will also enable our legal system to be more fair and equal while deciding child custody cases, in case a couple undergoes separation. Currently in most cases, even if a woman is at fault, the custody of the child is awarded to her by default.
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