Guest AuthorNeha Bagaria

No Universal Paternity Leave Law for Employees in India: Why This Needs to Change

By | Neha Bagaria (JobsForHer) | Founder & CEO, JobsForHer

In January 2021, Virat Kohli, Indian cricket captain, opted for paternity leave amidst an ongoing tournament to be with his wife during the birth of their child. This garnered huge criticism for prioritising his family over his work.

Men have long been discouraged from taking on equal responsibility at home, and this has to change now if we want to promote gender equality. Both the father and the mother must be entitled to paternity and maternity leaves, respectively as child care is a joint responsibility of both parents

Unfortunately, there is no such provision for paternity leave in India. The Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules,1972, give a provision to male government employees to take paternity leave 15 days before the birth or within six months of the birth of the baby. In contrast, other countries provide much better benefits to their employees. The lack of adequate paternity leave takes away from equal gender relations at home and in the workplace.

Paternity leave in India has been gaining prevalence over the last few years, but we still have a long way to go. Companies should offer and also encourage their employees to take parental leave, as male employees sometimes fear that such leave can hinder their career plans.

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Offering longer maternity leave is a step in the right direction. However, it is equally important to build a gender-balanced workforce and put family-friendly policies in place, not just women-friendly ones. 

Keeping this in mind, we asked companies participating in JobsForHer’s DivHERsity Awards 2021 about their paternity leave policy. The 2020 survey found that companies that give 1-3 months of paternity leave have increased by 2% — from 6% in 2019 to 8% in 2020. But companies that offer more than 3 months of paternity leave remained same at  3%. 

Paternity leave has many benefits for dads, their partners and their babies — but it also has surprising benefits for companies 

  • It can create more equal and diverse workplaces and even boost productivity
  • Paternity leave can have a profound impact on gender equality in the workforce
  • By taking paternity leave, men can also support women’s careers and even can boost their ability to rise into leadership roles
  • Companies that are open to the inclusive culture where paternity leave is respected, can help attract and retain the best talent

The law on paternity leave in India needs complete reinforcement that would not only make each parent a more satisfied employee, but it would also go a long way towards changing the stereotypical gender dynamics at home as well as in the workplace.

Watch Shu Matsuo Post as he shares his lesson learned from his seven transformative months of paternity leave — and he says it can create a more equal and diverse workplace:

Video Credit: TED Talks

In today’s business landscape, diversity and inclusion have taken centre stage. JobsForHer is making huge progress in changing the mindsets of both employers and employees in adopting more and more family-friendly policies. 

Learn more about JobsForHer here.

If you’d like more information, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at 

Republished with permission and originally published at Neha Bagaria’s LinkedIn

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