What is paternity leave?
When a child is born, a father is emotionally attached to the moment, and it is his natural instinct that he would prefer to spend few days closer to his wife and newborn. However, in India, unlike maternity leave, there is no specific provision of compulsory paternity leaves. Usually, the father uses the casual leave, leaves at a loss of payment or work from home.
Paternity benefits are though a well-accepted concept in western countries, but in the Indian subcontinent, it is still at a discussion stage. Some companies provide paternity leaves under their own policy.
Companies providing paternity leaves
There is worldwide recognition being given to paternity leaves. Various countries have amended their laws to include paternity benefits to their maternity benefit laws to give a chance to working fathers to take care of their newborns. However, in Indian laws, there is no provision for paternity leaves.
The only provision that allows paternity leave in India is under the Central Civil Services Leave Rules which allow 15 days of paternity leave to government employees in India. The paternity leaves policy is mandatory and every government employee can take a leave for a maximum period of 15 days to take care of his wife and newborn child.
The only condition imposed on this policy is that such leave can only be taken when the father has less than 2 children and he avails this leave before or within 6 months from the date of birth of the child. If the leave is not availed within the prescribed time, it is considered as lapsed.
However, this concept has a lacuna as only the government employees can avail paternity leave in India. There is no legal provision for paternity leave for private-sector employees. Employers in the private sector are not legally bound to provide paternity leave to their employees.
However, companies like Deutsche India, Kronos, etc. have laid down their own policy to provide paternity leave for their male employees for different periods of time. 12 weeks of paternity leave is provided by Cisco (India) and 5 days by RBS which can be availed for a maximum of two children.
Snapdeal in September 2021 announced that their policy shall grant two weeks of paternity leaves. Similarly, Meesho adds in their policy of 30 weeks of gender-neutral parental leaves.
Countries provide Paternity leaves
In Sweden, the parents get a total of 480 days of leave in the event of childbirth. Each parent is eligible to get 90 days to leave with 80% of their usual salary, and beyond that, 300 days are provided, which the parents can divide among themselves to take care of the child.
In Iceland, each parent gets 3 months of leave from work. After the completion of the three months, additional three months are provided, which the parents can divide among themselves.
Slovenia provides 12 weeks of paternity leaves.
The United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has declared four weeks of paternity leaves in all their offices in the world, which encourages an emotional development and attachment of the father with the newborn, and he gets enough scope to prioritize his family, at the time of requirement.