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Paternity leave: New fathers deal with what companies dole out

Source | ET Tech : By Brinda Dasgupta & Varuni Khosla

Arindam Sen (name changed on request), an employee at a Gurgaon-based finance company, recently became a father and availed of the short paternity leave provided by his company. However, as his baby was born with jaundice, he had to take a few extra days off, over and above his paternity leave allowance.

“In an age when nuclear families are the norm and fathers are committing to taking more responsibility of their newborn children, such little leave simply isn’t enough,” Sen told ET.

Now, 26 weeks of maternity leave could be on the cards for new mothers working in private companies. There is, however, no legal provision for paternity leave, even though central government employees are entitled to 15 days off.

“According to International Labour Organization (ILO) recommendations, a child requires equal support from both parents in the first 1,000 days. The challenge in India is that society does not designate men to be active in household or family matters. Companies aren’t doing enough because the government isn’t legislating them to,” said software industry lobby Nasscom’s head of diversity Ashok Pamidi. “Ideally speaking, five days is too few. A minimum of 15 days is recommended.

Only when we start giving paternity leave, gender parity will come in,” said Pamidi. In the absence of a legal provision, India Inc is doing the best it can. Many companies have been proactive about making sure new fathers within the workforce get at least a few days off.

Under Mondelez’s new parent policy, rolled out last year, male employees get 10 days paternity leave for the birth of a child, which can be taken within a period of the next 12 months, as and when one requires it. InMobi also provides male employees with 10 days of paternity leave, and allows for splitting the leave into two tranches to better manage the time.

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