The Karnataka High Court recently held that work from home benefit can be granted to a woman employee after exhausting maternity leave only if the nature of the work assigned to the employee makes it possible to do her official job from home.
The court held the same while denying relief of childcare leave to a woman employee at the Semiconductor Technology and Applied Research Centre (STARC), a unit under the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
The court was hearing a case where the petitioner had been working in the said position as a Senior Executive Engineer at the said center for eight years, reported Bar and Bench.
In August 2020, the petitioner delivered a baby girl and availed of maternity leave until February after which she used personal leave until April 2021. She contended that during the second wave of the Covid pandemic, she along with other employees were given the benefit to work from home.
The employees working with the fourth respondent-organization are involved in research work which is both sensitive as well as complicated. Sensitive, in the nature of the work done, in the sense that the research is for the benefit of the Government of India which uses the facility in the defense fields and the research work will not be divulged to the public. This itself would prove that the nature of the work assigned to the petitioner cannot be carried on from home,” the reported quoted the court as saying.
The court, however, noted that creche facilities would be made available for the employee in the adjacent premises, adding that the respondent-organization should consider her representation for regularization with sympathy.