PATERNITY LEAVE: IN INDIA
Children are the future of our country. They must be taken care of since their initial stage. Mothers play an important role in raising a child, but does it makes a father’s role negligible? A child needs both the parents for a proper upbringing of a child. We all know that India has a maternity act, but there is no legislation for a paternity act. Everybody talks about the sacrifices and problems faced by a mother but nobody talks about the condition of a father. When a new baby is born the mother and child needs proper care. A father can do that and without him being available it is not possible. Fathers, no matter what the situation is have to go to his office for work. A mother gets to leave but the father is not eligible for leave. In the year 1961, the Maternity benefits Act was enacted through which mothers could get different perks and facilities. However, to date there is nothing called Paternity Benefit Act, parenting is a work for both the parents. India is a country where values are given the most importance but fathers are unable to play their role because of the organization system.
Paternity leave in India
We as a citizen of India, firstly need to think that is it just the law which needs to be changed? No, I think it is the society which needs to change it is mindset. Many male because of their male ego, don’t avail a paid paternity leave. Equality between both the genders is being questioned here. Why the rights that a mother gets after a new baby is born are at least 70% equal to the benefits avail by the father? It is the society which enables the legislation to change.
In 2015, a two month paternity leave was offered by the face-book CEO, Mark Zuckerberg; a lot of things have changed since then. In fact, the food delivering app, Zomato made huge headlines after giving a 26 week paid paternity leave for its employees. Still, India remains outdated in having any national policies to make sure that new fathers get sufficient paid leave.
In the year 2017, after an amendment of Maternity Benefit Act enacted, Rajeev Satav, an MP from Maharashtra, proposed a new bill which talked about the benefits of fathers of the new born babies and was mentioned as Paternity Benefit Bill. It also talked about the leave period for the workers of both public as well as private sector which shall be from fifteen days extendable to three months. The bill talked about the gender equality and how the presence of both the parents plays an important role for a new born baby.
Satay further said, “Child care is the joint responsibility of both parents. They must devote time to the newborn to ensure its proper well-being”,
Paternity leave in Private Sector and Public Sector
In the government sector, employees working have perks of some benefits of paternity leaves. The Central Government in 1999, under Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A), introduced the following provisions for paternity leave:
Any male employee of Central Government, who has less than two children can avail a period of 15 days leave to take care of his wife and child. This leave can be avail within 6 months from the birth of a child. A leave salary which shall be equal to the pay before the leave is paid. If under any circumstances, such levae is not availed then it will be treated as invalid.
Paternity leave is recognized by the public sector but there is nothing called as paternity leave in the private sector. Such benefits are only availed to the government employees, though there is no law for the private sector, it totally depends on the company. A company, individually if wants can offer the paternity leaves to its employees. Mentioned below are few companies who took a step towards paternity leave under the HR policies, they are:
· Microsoft offered a 12 week paternity leave to its employees,
· Starbucks allotted a 12 week leave,
· Infosys offered only 5 days leave for the new fathers.
So these are just a few companies which did play a role for the fathers benefit. But still awareness of such leaves is needed, there are many people who still don’t know that they can avail such benefits
The main objective of the Paternity Leave Bill is to provide benefits to natural parents, adoptive parents, and people acting as in loco parentis. If Parliament votes for it, this will benefit the men in the labor force, including the ones in the unorganized sector. The paternity leave will also allow the mother to get some much-needed support from their husbands and the fathers of their children, both during and after childbirth.
Currently, the Central employees who fall under the All India and Central Civil Services Rules are all allowed to take a paid fifteen-day paternity leave. This puts India in the top fourteen countries with the highest maternity leave. By providing fifteen days of paid paternity leave to all sectors, India will among the top thirteen countries that provide the highest paternity leave, alongside other benefits.
5th YEAR BBA.LL.B
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF LEGAL STUDIES
NORTH BENGAL UNIVERSITY