“Cruel, Unjust”: Nurses Association Moves Kerala High Court Assailing Salary Cuts, Delays In Disbursement Of Allowances

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first_imgNews Updates”Cruel, Unjust”: Nurses Association Moves Kerala High Court Assailing Salary Cuts, Delays In Disbursement Of Allowances LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK1 March 2021 4:40 AMShare This – xThe Kerala High Court has issued notice to the Kerala State Government, the State Director of the National Health Mission, and the Malappuram District Programme Manager of Aarogyakeralam, Malappuram Medical College and the Indian Nursing Council upon a legal challenge to an order prescribing that the monthly salary of staff nurses be confined to the number of days worked in a month.Justice…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Kerala High Court has issued notice to the Kerala State Government, the State Director of the National Health Mission, and the Malappuram District Programme Manager of Aarogyakeralam, Malappuram Medical College and the Indian Nursing Council upon a legal challenge to an order prescribing that the monthly salary of staff nurses be confined to the number of days worked in a month.Justice Devan Ramachandran issued notice in the matter today and directed the State Government, the State Director of the National Health Mission, and the Malappuram District Programme Manager of Aarogyakeralam to file a statement.The petition, moved by the United Nurses Association (Association/petitioner), a registered trade union, assails an order of the District Program Manager, Arogyakeralam, Malappuram that effectively prescribes that the monthly salary of staff nurses be confined to the number of days worked in a month, with the maximum possible number of working days capped at 27.Citing an earlier directive that allowed staff nurses an entire month’s salary if the nurse had worked at least 26 days in a month, the Association terms the new order as illegal and arbitrary.Adverting to the selfless service provided by health workers during the pandemic, the petitioner avers that any order that denied nurses their legitimate salary and leave, is illegal and violative of natural rights.Therefore, depriving nurses their salary of an entire month and disbursing only salary for their working days is illegal, the petitioner argues.The petition goes on to state:”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 midvives, 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.”Pointing out that the initial order was issued in recognition of the hectic and dangerous work of Covid warriors, the petitioner submits that even while the first order mandating a whole month’s salary was in force, the same was not being implemented. Despite certain representations made by nurses of the Malappuram District Medical College to the State Government, the State Director of the National Health Mission, and the District Program Manager of Aarogyakeralam challenging the order, the representations were not acted upon.Because of the order, nurses at the frontline of Covid-19 care last year were compelled to work the entire month without leave in order to receive salary for at least 27 days. Over and above this, staff nurses were not being paid their salaries in a timely manner, the petitioner-association avers. It is further submitted that salary allowances for the period between October and December, 2020 were not disbursed.Although a disbursement of Rs 40,61,23,630 was released by the State Mission Director to all the districts as ‘incentives and risk allowance’ for the period from August to November 2020, the nurses had not received allowances for October to December, the plea lays out.In its petition, 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 offence under the Disaster Management Act read with Indian Penal Code 1860.Even the Payment of Wages Act mandates that the salary of workers in industry, factory, mines, railway be paid before the expiry of the tenth day, after the last day of the wage period in respect of which the wages are payable, it is highlighted.In this light, the Association calls on 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 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 monthIn the interim, the Association has sought a halt on all proceedings under the order under challenge.The petition was filed by President of the Association Jasminsha M through Advocates John Mani V, Sriram Parakkat, Jayant.S, Jackson Johny, Varghese Sabu, Sethulakshmi K K, and Gayathri Menon.The matter is expected to be taken up next on 10 March 2021.Next Storylast_img

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