For Central Government Employees who could not enjoy full LTC benefits due to lockdown last year, the Union government has announced some relief measures.
For Central Government Employees who could not enjoy full LTC benefits due to lockdown last year, the Union government has announced some relief measures. In an Office Memorandum (O.M.) dated 07-01-2021, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), announced three new decisions.
During the lockdown period, several airlines charged cancellation charges against pre-booked air tickets when all domestic flights were cancelled. Because of this several employees who had booked LTC tickets in advance faced financial difficulties.
“During this period, all domestic flights within India were cancelled but certain airlines have charged the cancellation charges against the pre-booked air tickets. In such a situation, many Government employees who had booked LTC tickets in advance for that period are facing financial difficulties in view of the high cancellation amount charged by the airlines,” DoPT noted.
In several cases, the airlines did not refund the ticket and instead kept the booking amount in the form of ‘credit shell’, allowing passengers to travel again within a year. “This is causing undue hardships to the Government employees as the LTC advance along with penal interest, is required to be returned if the journey is not undertaken,” DoPT said.
The Ministries of Personnel had received several requests from employees for providing relief in both cases. The Central Government Employees had sought relief in the form of one-time relaxation for reimbursement of the cancellaion charges. They had also sought an extension of time limit for settlement of LTC advance and exemption of penal interest till such date the journey is performed by them. The Central Government has accepted both requests of employees and issued instructions in this regard to various ministries and departments.
- The ministries/departments have been given the power to reimburse the cancellation/reschedule charges as a one-time relaxation to employees who had booked advance air/train tickets for claiming LTC benefit but could not undertake the journey due to the lockdown.
- In cases where the airlines have kept the refund amount in ‘Credit Shell’, the ministries/departments have been allowed to extend the period of repayment of LTC advance taken by the government several for LTC journey to 28th February 2021, or till the amount in the Credit Shell is utilised (whichever is earlier).
- In cases where the employees have withdrawn LTC advance and leave encashment to perform the LTC journey but failed to do so due to the lockdown, such employees have been allowed to avail the Special Cash Package Scheme in lieu of LTC.