Mark Zuckerberg plans 2-months paternity leave India has a long way to go
news Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 13:48

As Mark Zuckerberg readies to take a two-month long paternity leave, here's how the paternal leave policy in India looks like.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday announced that he would be taking two months of paternity leave once his daughter is born. "This is a very personal decision, and I've decided to take 2 months of paternity leave when our daughter arrives," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. 

He went on to add that "Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families. At Facebook we offer our US employees up to 4 months of paid maternity or paternity leave which they can take throughout the year." 

When it comes to paternity leaves, European countries like Sweden, Belgium and Denmark have some of the best paternal leave policies anywhere in the world

And Indian companies too are waking up to the need to introduce such policies. 

Earlier this year, Godrej extended its paternity leave policy for its employees from five to 10 working days. 

As part of its paternity benefits, SAP labs provides fathers-to-be five days of paid paternity leave and also the option of part-work-from-home following the birth of their children. 

wage settlement signed between the Indian Banks' Association and bank unions this year provides paternity leaves to male executives. 

In July, e-commerce giant Flipkart too announced that it would soon roll out a friendly paternity policy for dads-to-be. 

In the government sector, the policy related to paternity benefits for male employees have been laid down clearly. 

A notification under Rule 551(A) Central Civil Services by the Central Govt. in 1999 stipulates provisions by which a male central government employee can take paternity leave. The male (including an apprentice and probationer) should have less than two existing children. 

The rule states: "The male can avail this leave 15 days before or within 6 months from the date of delivery of child. If such leave is not availed within the period, it shall be treated as lapsed. For paternity leave he shall be paid leave salary equal to the pay last drawn immediately before proceeding on leave. Also, the same rule applies when a child is adopted."

While a paternity leave policy exists for government employees, the same cannot be said for the private sector. As far as private companies are concerned, they can frame their independent policies in the absence of a formal directive. 

When it comes to the private sector, the policy was introduced by technology companies almost a decade ago. 

Though Indian companies are fast catching up to the trend, are their policies effective? 

Suman Rudra, India HR Head, NCR Corporation, wrote in The Times of India, "A few traditional sectors like manufacturing, construction, etc, have not yet adopted this policy but intend to do so soon. 

The important point is whether this is sufficient as most private companies are averaging around five days of paternity leave. There are organizations which have started extending the duration of this leave for up to 15 days as they believe it is an extension of addressing their gender issues and helps make men sensitive to a family's needs."

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