PATERNITY LEAVE



  • Recently the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) granted paternity leave to the Indian captain.


Paternity leave in India

There is no legal provision for paternity leave in India.

  • All India and Central Civil Services Rules allow Central government employees with less than two surviving children 15 days of paternity leave. This also extends to cases where a child has been adopted. This could be availed up to six months from the date of delivery or adoption of the child.
  • Private organisations: There isn’t any such law
  • that mandates private sectors to provide the paternity leaves to its employees. However certain private establishments provide paternity leaves. Like Food aggregator Zomato India provides 26 weeks paid leave for new fathers.
  • In Chander Mohan Jain v. N.K Bagrodia Public School, 2009 the Delhi High Court held that “all male employees of unaided recognized private schools were entitled to paternity leave.”
  • UNICEF had the provision of four weeks paid paternity leaves to its male employees but now it has been extended to sixteen weeks across all its offices worldwide.


Significance of paternity leave

  • Emotional need of the child: According to International Labour Organization, a child requires equal support from both parents in the first 1,000 days. Quality father–child interactions enhance the resources of paternal capital available to the child thus contributing to healthy development of the child.
  • Health of the mother: Much of the attention is typically placed on the health and well-being of the new-born baby. The postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms of the new mothers are generally ignored. Father’s ability to stay home may play a role in reducing such depressions and anxiety.
  • Nuclear family: As a result of which the level of child-care support to the mother from extended family members is much less available nowadays. Paternity leave would ease the burden of the mother who otherwise have to bear the whole responsibility of the child care alone.
  • Bridging the gender gap at home for facilitating gender equality at workplace: Women’s equality in the workplace cannot be achieved without men’s equality in the home


Challenges in paternity leave

  • Lack of will power among employers: Many organizations do not provide even maternity leave which is statutorily backed by the Maternity Benefit (amendment) Act 2017.
  • Funding: Public exchequer has its own limitations while private organizations may not be willing to bear any extra cost and if employees are made to fund such leave policy then the idea may not result in desired outcome.
  • Patriarchal society: According to International Labour Organization, Indian Men perform only 10% of the unpaid care work and more than 80% believe that taking care of the child is the primary responsibility of the mother.


Way ahead

  • Universalize the Gender Equity Movement in Schools (GEMS) project: It is a gender sensitization programme for 12-14 year young school kids being implemented in the public schools of Maharashtra from 2010.
  • Nudging: Various means for attitudinal and behavioural changes needs to be employed ensuring active role of male partner before, during and after the child birth.
  • Legislative reforms: Paternity Benefit Bill, 2018 should be passed with utmost propriety for ensuring better outcome of all the steps taken for behavioural changes.


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