Three months leave for victims of sexual harassment, government tells Parliament
Women employees who have filed complaints of sexual harassment can now get a paid leave of three months during the pendency of inquiry, the government said today.
Section 12 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, provides for grant of leave up to three months to an aggrieved woman employee during the pendency of inquiry in to her case, Union Minister Jitendra Singh informed Lok Sabha on Wednesday in a written reply.
“Such leave may be granted by the employer if a written request from the aggrieved employee duly recommended by the local committee or the internal committee, as the case may be, is received,” said the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
To a question seeking details on the number of sexual harassment complaints registered by women employees as on date, the minister said that “centralised data is not maintained”.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had issued an order in this regard last month, which said that paid leave up to a maximum of 90 days may be granted to an aggrieved female government servant during the pendency of inquiry.
"The leave so granted to the aggrieved woman under this rule shall not be debited against the leave account," it said.
Though the Act has the provision for grant of leave to the aggrieved woman up to a period of three months, the Union government had not yet incorporated it in the service rules that govern leave of its employees. The DoPT has now incorporated this provision in the Central Civil Services (leave) Rules, 1972.
"It will come as a relief to the victims who undergo a lot of trauma while working in the office that too in the presence of the accused," a senior DoPT official said.
As per the law, sexual harassment includes physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing any pornography and any other unwelcome physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Besides, implied or explicit promise of preferential or detrimental treatment in employment; implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; interference with her work, creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile work environment for her; and humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety may also amount to sexual harassment.