Desi private biggies lag in paternity leave
Among the home-grown private companies that do not offer paternity leave are India’s biggest private-sector employer TCS, tobacco-to-hotels giant ITC, FMCG player Emami, ICICI Bank and L&T.
Under the law, though, organisations are not required to provide paternity leave. Among the home-grown private companies that do not offer paternity leave are India’s biggest private-sector employer TCS, tobacco-to-hotels giant ITC, FMCG player Emami, ICICI Bank and L&T.
The $44-billion Aditya Birla Group recently introduced the benefit for its male employees. Paternity leave is a concept pioneered by Western companies, and tech firms have been at the forefront in providing the most generous paid leaves to new fathers. Paternity leave helps in attracting talent and is seen as an incentive for sharing child-rearing duties between the two parents, enabling women to get back to work after availing the requisite maternity leave.
Some HR heads of private companies argue that it is not necessary to have separate such leave. According to them, a generous privilege leave could double up as paternity leave. Others feel that companies rooted in age-old traditions are slow to adopt new-age HR policies.
TCS said it has a comprehensive leave policy specific to every country, catering to the local needs of its people, including compliance with local laws. TCS, which has 4.24 lakh employees in 46 countries, has the bulk of them based in India. The IT services major added that it has an agile policy development process as “we continuously evolve the policies based on the ever-changing requirements”.
The $13-billion JSW Group said it offers paternity leave, but it is part of the privilege leave. ICICI Bank didn’t respond to TOI’s mail.
At Indian private sector companies, which do offer paternity leave, it’s generally restricted to 7-10 days. On the other hand, the Indian arms of foreign companies offer paternity leave ranging from a few weeks to months. Deutsche Bank India offers “parental leave” of 26 weeks to the primary caregiver, irrespective of the gender. Zomato, which had sacked 300 people in 2015, recently announced a 26-week paternity leave — similar to the mandated maternity leave in the country.
Two years ago, there was a proposal to introduce the Paternity Benefit Bill, under which new fathers working in the private sector would get at least 15 days of paternity leave that could be extended to three months. Government provisions allow public sector units to offer 15 days of paternity leave. PSU majors like LIC, ONGC and Coal India offer paternity leave.
Even though there is no legislation on paternity leave, the Delhi high court in the case of Chander Mohan Jain versus N K Bagrodia Public School had ruled that private sector male teachers are entitled to paternity leave. The law, however, mandates companies to provide 26 weeks or six months of maternity leave.