Nurses association moves Kerala High Court against Order Confining Monthly Salaries
Kochi: The United Nurses Association, a registered trade union, has moved a petition in the Kerala High Court against an order of the District Program Manager, Arogyakeralam, Malappuram , confining the monthly salary of staff nurses to the number of days worked in a month. The order also caps the maximum number of working days at 27 days.
The association has termed the new order illegal as an earlier directive allowed the staff nurses an entire month's salary if the nurse had worked at least 26 days in a month. However, the petitioner has also pointed out that even while the first order mandating a whole month's salary was in force, the same was not being implemented.
According to a report in livelaw, Justice Devan Ramachandran of the Kerala High Court has issued notice to the Kerala State Government, the State Director of the National Health Mission District Program Manager, Arogyakeralam, Malappuram, the State Director of the National Health Mission, Malappuram Medical College, and the Indian Nursing Council. The court has asked the concerned authorities to file a statement in court.
The petitioner has also highlighted the discrepancies in timely payments of their salaries. It says that they have not received salary allowances for the month of October to December 2020 in spite of receiving funds to the tune of Rs 40,61,23,630 by the State Mission Director to all the districts as 'incentives and risk allowance' for the period of August to November 2020, adds the report.
The petitioner has based their petition on a Central Government Order mandating timely salary payments to health workers engaged in COVID-19 related duty dated 18 June as also the Supreme Court's order in Dr. Arushi Jain v. Union of India declaring that any violation of a Central Government Order in respect of disbursements to health workers could be treated as an offense under the Disaster
The matter is expected to be taken up next on 10 March 2021.
As quted by Livelaw, the petition says:
"It has been acknowledged by Central and State ministries that the hard work and selfless service provided by India's health workers, including nurses and midwives have no doubt contributed to the country's impressive recovery rate. Nurses are important in managing a health crisis because they are a vital link between the patient and the rest of the health care team. To combat COVID-19 the first line of defense in battling such a pandemic is the Doctors, nurses, and the medical staff who are the most vulnerable to fall prey to the virus, while protecting others from it. Yet denying staff nurses the legitimate salary and leave which they are entitled for is illegal and violative of natural rights."
Petitioner pointed out that because of the new order the nurses on COVID-19 duty were forced to work the entire month without leave to receive salary for a maximum of 27 days.
According to the report, the Association has called for the Court's intervention in:
● ensuring the implementation of the earlier order mandating an entire month's salary to staff nurses
● quashing the order issued by the Malappuram Aarogyakeralam District Program Manager confining salary to an actual number of days worked.
● directing the State Government, the State Director of the National Health Mission, and the District Program Manager of Aarogyakeralam to take a decision on representations made by nurses of the Malappuram Medical College
● Requiring disbursal of salary by the first week of every month