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Paternity Leave in India
In the lives of some employees, it is sometimes necessary to leave work in order to fulfill the important parental duties, especially with babies. Naturally then, there should be parental leave benefits set out to help parents of children, as well as organizations to accommodate them.
Back in 1961, the Government of India drew up the Maternity Benefits Act, by which women are entitled to different benefits, perks, and facilities. However, there is still no legislation for the fathers and their paternity benefits. In a country where a family is of utmost importance, it is a genuine necessity to provide both maternity and paternity leaves.
The proposition of the Paternity Benefit Bill in 2017
Three years ago in 2017, After the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act happened, there was a new bill proposed, known as The Paternity Benefit Bill. Rajeev Satav, an MP from Maharashtra, stood up for the benefits of fathers of newborn babies. This new bill states that all workers, both in unorganized and private sectors, should get paternity leave of fifteen days, which is also extendable up to three months. One of the most important features is that it emphasized the equal parental benefits for mothers and fathers.
“Child care is the joint responsibility of both parents. They must devote time to the newborn to ensure its proper well-being”, said Satav.
Government Sector Employees and Paternity Leave
For employees working in the government sector, there are 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:
-for a male Central Government employee
-with less than two surviving children
-for a period of 15 days to take care of his wife and child.
-possibility to avail the leave 15 days before, or within 6 months from the birth of the child.
-If such leave is not availed, it will be treated as invalid.
-a leave salary equal to the pay before the leave will be paid.
Paternity Leave in Private Schools
In 2009, a private school teacher Chander Mohan Jain moved to the High Court of New Delhi and challenged the rejection of his paternity leave application, as well as the deduction of his salary by N K Bagrodia Public School. He took a leave to take care of his wife, and their newborn baby. Despite the lack of legislation, New Delhi High Court said all male employees of unaided and recognized private schools have the right to paternity leave. The court instructed the school to refund the amount to the teacher.
Private Sector Employees and Paternity Leave
Paternity leave is sanctioned for the government employees, but there is no law that mandates private sectors when it comes to paternity leave. Therefore, it is open to interpretation by the individual companies themselves.
Some of the biggest companies took their own steps towards paternity leave through HR policies. Microsoft offers 12 weeks, Infosys only 5 days, Facebook is in the lead with 17 weeks, Starbucks allows 12 weeks, TCS gives 15 days, Oracle only 5 days, while Deloitte gives their employees 16 weeks of paternity leave.
UNICEF and Paternity Leaves
UNICEF used to have four weeks of paid paternity leaves to the male employees but has since extended it to sixteen weeks worldwide. Thanks to their modernized approach, UNICEF is the first United Nations Agency to extend it to more than four weeks. This step gave the time to fathers and their children to spend together.
Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017
After the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act of 2017 was introduced, Rajeev Satav wished to protect the paternity rights of working fathers. Some of the biggest aspects mentioned in the bill are:
Applicability, Payment, Working Duration, Duration of Leave, Parental Benefit Scheme, Parental Scheme Benefit Fund, Advance payment of Salary, No dismissal, Inspecting Officer, Bon-fulfillment of Benefit, Miscarriage, and Adoption.
The objective of the Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017
The main aim 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.