1 day earlier, 8 weeks now: Why India Inc is getting serious about paternity leaves
Compared to a mindset that bringing up a child is only a woman’s job, both individuals as well as organisations have realised that it is the joint responsibility of both the father and mother.
Consumer goods major Johnson & Johnson India recently announced a new paternity leave policy under which both new and adoptive fathers will be entitled to eight weeks of paid leave during the first year of birth or adoption.
A company release had said that this enhanced paternity leave will enable the fathers to bond with the child during the first year. This is also expected to attract younger employees to the workforce.
Leave to bond with a new-born or adopted child which was earlier primarily restricted to mothers is now also being extended to fathers. Maternity leave has been extended to 26 weeks in India from 12 weeks earlier. While companies would give one day off to new fathers, the duration of it is being extended.
Technology consultancy major ThoughtWorks increased the paternity leave to 4 weeks, which can be availed at any time during the first year of child birth or adoption.
“We, earlier had 2 weeks of paternity leave. We increased it to 4 weeks in 2016, since both, male and female employees felt that this, would allow fathers to contribute more during the child's first year," said Kaushik Ghosh, People Head at ThoughtWorks India.
"The extension allows fathers of new-born, to provide greater support to the child and the mother during the first year. It also allows for better sharing of responsibilities by both parents, as it can get quite exhausting for the mother if she has to manage, by herself,” said Ghosh.
Even in the case of adoption where a child needs time to adjust to a new house and environment, both parents are given leave. There is no legal requirement as per Indian labour laws to offer paternity leave.
Chitra Byregowda, Head- Diversity and Sustainability, Mindtree said that at the company paternity leave can be availed for a maximum of five working days and within 30 days after child birth which can be taken at a stretch or otherwise.
She added that any employee who adopts a child is also entitled for paternity leave of five working days, if the age of the child is less than five years and appropriate legal process for adoption is followed.
Similarly, Arif Khan, Chief HR Officer, Sasken Technologies which provides a calendar week as paternity leave said that the family wants to be together to welcome the new entrant and for this it’s important that the father is part of the celebration and spends the initial days with the new born.
It is not large companies which are following these practices. Smaller companies, both in the online as well as offline space
Digital lending startup Capital Float allows paternity leave of 10 days that can be taken over six months. Apart from that, flexible working hours and work from home for a certain period is also allowed.
Rajesh Viswanathan, CFO & Head of HR, Capital Float said that we believe that this policy helps members take time off from work and be with their loved ones during one of their most important and cherished moments.
“We’ve observed that fathers return to work with renewed energy and motivation. This further contributes to the strength of the relationship between the company and the team,” he added.
Compared to a mindset that bringing up a child is only a woman’s job, both individuals as well as organisations have realised that it is the joint responsibility of both the father and mother. An ad by Raymond a few years ago had led to heated debates about whether a father should stay home with the baby if the mother has to go to work.
Anand Talwar, CHRO, ITC Infotech said that they offer five days of paternity leave. This leave is spread across one year from the date of child birth. The employee can avail this leave as per his requirement“Paternity leave is very important and useful for any new father. This helps the employee to be with the family during child birth, addresses medical requirements of the child/mother including vaccinations during the first year,” he said.