Mumbai, April 21: The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) recently said that probation should not be an obstacle to a woman who wants to be a mother during that period. The MAT observed while quashing a 2015 state government order denying maternity leave to a woman, who was then a 28-year-old assistant forest conservator in Mumbai.

While quashing the state order, the tribunal also said that a probationer's seniority should not suffer if she wants to be a mother, which is her basic human and natural right. In its judgement on Friday, April 19, MAT said that the state guaranteed 180-day maternity leave to every female employee. According to a report in TOI, the tribunal's remark came in response to an application filed by the woman last year. Paid Child Care Leave: Maharashtra Women Government Employees Including Widower to Get 180 Days Paid Leave, Until Their Children Turns 18.

At present, the woman petitioner is a divisional forest conservator at SGNP. In her plea, the woman had challenged the 2015 order. Back then, the forest department had "illegally" regularised her maternity leave as "extraordinary leave" in addition to the 43 days of post-natal leave that the woman took in 2013 while she was on probation.

The petitioner's lawyer told the tribunal that the state failed to consider the woman's maternity leave and said that her probation ended in March 2015 instead of mid-2014. This led to the woman petitioner losing her seniority. While quashing the 2015 order, MAT held that probation can be extended for an employee's assessment only if the person's performance in the corresponding months on her resuming work is found "unsatisfactory". IAS Officer Srijana Gummalla Gives Up 6-Month Maternity Leave to Join Fight Against Coronavirus, Picture of Young Official Holding One-Month-Old Baby While on Duty Goes Viral.

In its defence, the state government cited recruitment rules of three-year probation, which also included two years of training. However, the woman's lawyer stated that maternity leave is statutory under the Maternity Benefits Act. Thus, the tribunal quashed the order and directed the state to treat her 180 days' leave as maternity leave and the additional 43 days of leave as childcare leave.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 21, 2024 08:33 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website