The central government has relaxed norms for its employees who were either on leave or on an official tour and could not join office due to non-availability of public transport during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a Personnel Ministry order.
The move comes in the wake of the government receiving several references and queries from the employees who proceeded on leave with necessary permission, but could not report for duty due to travel restrictions.
The Personnel Ministry has issued an order to all central government departments mentioning clarifications to the queries on the issue, with a directive that they should avoid an "unnecessary reference to DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training under the ministry) on the subject".
Government servants who were on official tour and were unable to return to their headquarters due to non-availability of public transport should be "deemed to have joined duty on the date of expiry of official tour, if intimation in any form, indicating difficulty in joining duty due to non-availability of public transport/flights, has been given by the government servant to the office", it said.
The same provision is applicable for government employees who were on leave before the nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 25, according to the Personnel Ministry order issued on Tuesday.
"In case of leave on medical grounds, this is subject to production of a medical/fitness certificate," it said.
Citing a situation of government servants who left the headquarters on March 21 (Friday), the weekend prior to the lockdown, but could not return on March 23 due to non-availability of transport, the ministry said they shall be deemed to have joined on March 23, provided that they informed the office then.
It said that curtailment of a sanctioned leave may not be agreed to in case the leave of government servants expired during the lockdown period.
"Curtailment of a sanctioned leave may not be agreed to unless allowed by the leave sanctioning authority only in rare cases based on official exigency," the ministry clarified.
The employee may be deemed to have joined duty from the date of expiry of leave during the period of lockdown, it said.