Woman child development ministry asks NBE on lack of maternity leave for DNB doctors
New Delhi: In a recent development regarding no maternity leave issue for DNB doctors, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) Department has written to the National Board of Examinations (NBE) seeking its response on the matter.
"The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a 'maternity benefit; i.e. full paid absence from work to take care for her child. The act is applicable to all establishments," clarified the letter by MWCD.
"In view of the above, it is requested to apprise this Ministry as to why the NBE has withdrawn the provisions of aforesaid Act at the earliest," it added.
This comes after, the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) had recently written to the Ministry on June 30, 2021 regarding the withdrawal of provisions of Maternity Leave to female DNB Resident Doctors which was provided earlier by NBE.
Medical Dialogues had recently reported that previously, DNB doctors were allowed a Maternity Leave of three months without any extension of the course duration. Back in 2018, bringing relief to the DNB candidates, NBE in a public notice had mentioned that DNB/FNB candidates who joined after 2018, would be entitled to Maternity/ Paternity leave as per the Central or State Government policies, whichever is applicable to DNB/FNB training institute.
However, in 2019, NBE answered some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and clarified that "Any Leave availed by the DNB/FNB Trainee other than the eligible leave mentioned in the revised leave rules dated 20.03.2018 (i.e 30 days per year), shall lead to extension of DNB /FNB training."
For the past couple of weeks, doctors have started questioning this stand of NBE and several associations have raised their voices regarding the matter. FORDA, in a letter directed to the Prime Minister, had mentioned how the "Maternity Amendment Bill" was passed in 2018 as a welcome move and it extended the Maternity Leaves of female employees to 26 weeks, extending from the previous period of 12 weeks. However, the same benefits were denied to the DNB doctors by NBE.
"The Maternity Leave has become more relevant in the ongoing COVID19 pandemic since pregnant DNB Residents are not able to join their duties because of risk of contracting the infection which in turn, might harm the mother as well as the baby who is yet to be born. Withdrawal of Maternity Leave is a serious violation of basic rights of the female Resident Doctors," FORDA had further mentioned earlier.
Later, FORDA had also filed a complaint before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Commission for Women (NCW) regarding the issue. NHRC had registered a case regarding the issue, whereas, at the NCW, the matter was pending, a representative of FORDA had earlier told Medical Dialogues.
Finally, acting on their representation, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has sought NBE's response regarding the matter. A copy of the letter had been forwarded to the National Commission for Women for taking appropriate action.