New Delhi: The Central government has refuted media reports and issued a clarification, saying it is not mandatory for permanent government employees to avail 20 days of earned leave every year.Also Read - LIC IPO: LIC Seeks Review Of Prospectus In Three Weeks By SEBI, Aims To Hit The Bourses By March-End

“It is being claimed that the government has made it compulsory for its permanent employees to take at least 20 days of earned leave every year, instead of hoarding them up for encashment,” the statement from the government said. Also Read - Budget 2022: What Is Union Budget In Simpler Terms And Why Is It Important? Everything You Need To Know

The clarification was issued after media reports suggested that the Centre has introduced a new leave encasement policy making all central government employees to take at least 20 days of earned leave every year. The reports further also had suggested that the move has been taken to prevent workers from hoarding leaves in order to get them encashed later and to promote healthy work-life balance for employees. Also Read - Budget 2022: History Of Union Budget, In Which Year Was It First Presented? Here's All You Need To Know

The fact-checking arm of the government’s information wing Press Information Bureau (PIB) has issued the clarification about the reports.

In October last year, the Centre had announced an LTC cash voucher scheme for its employees. By opting for this scheme, the eligible employees can purchase goods and services in lieu of the tax-exempt portion of the Leave Travel Concession/Leave Travel Allowance (LTA/LTC). Moreover, they also claim tax-exemption on the travel fare encashed if the amount is spent by satisfying specified conditions.

However, the Centre, later extended the Income Tax benefit on the LTC Cash Voucher scheme to the non-Central Government Employees, which includes private-sector workers as well.

Issuing a statement, the Ministry of Finance said that the government LTC is different from the Leave Travel Allowance in the corporate sector. “A person claiming LTC is not eligible unless he actually travels; if he fails to travel the amount is deducted from his pay and he may be liable for disciplinary action. He does not have the option of keeping the money and paying income tax,” the finance ministry said.