Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Keeping in view the dual responsibilities of the working women and increasing practical difficulties in balancing work and family responsibilities, the Sixth Central Pay Commission has recommended enhancement of maternity leave up to six months and introduced the concept of staggered working hours for women employees to give flexibility to employees to work either early or late depending on their requirements at home.

Quoting the concept of child-care leave being followed in Japan and The Netherlands where women employees are allowed leave to look after children, the Justice Srikrishna Commission has suggested that all women employees having minor children may be allowed to take leave up to two years (730 days) for taking care of up to two children, whether for bringing them up or looking after their needs including examination and sickness. Child care leave should also be allowed for the third year. However, no such leave will be given if children are18 years old or above.

The Commission proposed enhancement of maternity leave from 135 days to 180 days (six months) for two children and further continuation of leave up to two years for the same purpose with crèche facilities that can be contributory.

Under the flexible hours scheme for working women with children, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be core hours during which all women employees will necessarily need to be present in the office. They will have the option of either coming up to one and half hours earlier or leaving up to two hours late. The time may be adjusted if the office follows different work hours and for this arrangement to succeed, the Commission has recommended biometric exit/entry system.

Another major recommendation is that disciplinary action should be taken against any employee under the Service Conduct Rules if found guilty of violation of Domestic Violence (Prevention) Act.