India lacks a law governing birth benefits for dads
In India, government employees enjoy the benefit of paternity leave, but their counterparts in private companies struggle to get it.
In 1961, India passed the Maternity Benefit Act, which allows women to avail of certain benefits and perks during pregnancy.
Aiswarya Saji, an advocate, explained: “There is no general law regarding paternity leave in India. This is why corporate companies always have the freedom to incorporate such laws in their internal management. They can alter the memorandums of understanding which can later be signed by the members and then the law will come into force.”
Saurabh C., a credit officer at the Bank of Baroda, informed The Observer that being a government employee, he is entitled to paternity leave for 15 days. “The rules applied to government banks are also applicable to private banks. Therefore, private banks provide paternity leave.
But he added that corporates are still lagging in this.
According to the Paternity Benefit Bill moved in 2017, fathers are entitled to take paid leave for a period ranging from 15 days to three months.
Since any such rules do not bind private companies, they are free to have their own policies on paternity leave.
While employees of companies like Amazon and Meesho enjoy paternity leave, their counterparts in other private companies are not even aware of such benefits.
Kavita Sardana, HR manager in Haldari, a Bengaluru-based outlet of ISP Seeds, an agricultural company, said they offer paternity leave but no one applies for it. Many male employees do not even know that they are entitled to get it.
Anukul Tomar, a reporting head in Haldari, said he was not given paternity leave. His salary was not deducted as it was adjusted in the casual leave allowed by his company.
Shweta, the wife of an employee of a publishing house, said the company does not provide any leave benefits for both male and female employees.
Anik Guho, HR manager at LabVantage Solutions, an IT company in Bengaluru, said his company has a policy of providing three days’ paternity leave.
According to a Times of India report, India is among the 90 countries that do not have national policies to ensure proper benefits to fathers.