Teachers in government schools across Maharashtra have demanded a provision of paternity leave for them.
In a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Maharashtra Rajya Shikshak Parishad Union has demanded that male teachers be granted 17 days’ paternity leave. They have submitted a charter of other demands too, and decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike starting from March 14 to press for the demands.
Among the demands put forth by the union, women teachers in the state have said they be given child care leave for 730 days. This facility is provided to Central government teachers. As per Central government rules, child care leave can be taken until the child is 18 years old.
The teachers’ union wants this child care leave to be over and above the maternity leave that is available to all female employees.
Anil Bornare, president of the Maharashtra Rajya Shikshak Parishad Union’s Mumbai region, said, “There are more than 3 lakh teachers in the state who are deprived of child care leave, which is given to Central government teachers. Last year too, we submitted our demand to the CM to start these facilities for state teachers too. We have demanded that women teachers be allowed leaves during the child’s exams or when the child is unwell, until the child attains the age of 18 years. We also wrote that male teachers should get paternity leave.”
Other demands of the union include non-salary grants to aided schools, permanent posts and better wages to shikshan sevaks, implementation of Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, and teachers of night schools and schools for disabled be treated on par with regular school teachers, among others.
“These teachers have highlighted their problems on several occasions. They have even met the school education minister a number of times and have apprised him of the plight of teachers and non-teaching staff. However, the state government has turned a blind eye to the problems. We were left with no other option but to organise a protest to get our voices heard,” said Shivnath Darade, a teacher and member of the BMC’s education committee.
The schools claim that they have to face a lot of problems in the absence of non-salary grants. Government schools have not been paid non-salary grants by the state government since 2008. The grants cover only expenses such as electricity bills, water charges, property taxes and other establishment expenses.
MRSP has already submitted a memorandum to the state education department highlighting their demands.
The association, along with other teachers’ unions, has organised an indefinite chain hunger strike from Monday at Azad Maidan. Unaided schools’ associations and junior college teachers’ associations will also join the protest on Monday.