In India, maternity leave was introduced in 1961 providing 12 weeks paid leave to the mothers, and after the 2017 amendment it increased to 26 weeks. But there is no law providing any leave or other benefits to the fathers, even if assumed to be provided, due to the Indian mindset the male parent would not avail the benefits. The mindset of the Indian society is such that most of the male parents believe that it is the duty of the mother to take care of the child and it is the duty of the father to earn money for their livelihood. They believe that, if they avail such leave it would be difficult for them to work the same way they worked before the leave, which may affect their career in the future.[i]
Paternity Leave in India:
In India, The Central Government in 1999, by notification under Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A), has introduced the following provisions for employees working in government sector to avail paternity leave.
- The male Central Government employee can avail paternity leave up to 15 days to take care of the child and the mother.
- The leave can be availed before the delivery or anytime within 6 months after the delivery.
- If not availed, it shall be treated as invalid after 6 months of the birth of the child.
- It can be availed only by those male employees who have less than 2 surviving children.
- It can be combined with any other kind of leave.
- It cannot be refused under any circumstances.
- These provisions are also applicable to those male employees who have become a father of an adopted child, only when the age of such adopted child is less than 1 year.
- The above said provisions are not bound to private employers.[ii]
Paternity Leave in Private Sectors:
As there are no laws making it obligatory for private sectors to provide paternity leave, it is left for the individual companies to interpret and decide whether to provide paternity leave or not. There are various Private Multinational Companies which have introduced paternity leave through their HR policies.
- Microsoft decided to provide 12 weeks of paternity leave.
- Infosys allows only 5 days of paternity leave.
- Facebook, by providing 17 weeks of paternity leave, has become the highest paternity leave providing company.
- Starbucks provides 12 weeks of paternity leave.
- TCS allows 15 days of paternity leave.
- Oracle also provides only 5 days of paternity leave.
- Deloitte provides 16 weeks of paternity leave.[iii]
- Deutsche Bank, by providing 6 months paternity leave became the first private company to provide this long paternity leave.
- Cisco (India) provides 12 weeks of paternity leave.
- RBS allows only a maximum of 5 days of paid paternity leave.[iv]
- com provides 15 days of paternity leave.
- Ernst & Young provides 7 days of paternity leave.
- IKEA India allowed a period of 6 months of paternity leave with a condition that the female parent goes to work, aiming to break the stereotype.[v]
Paternity Leave in UNICEF:
UNICEF had been providing paternity leave for a period of four weeks, but has extended to sixteen weeks in all its offices worldwide. With this approach, UNICEF has become the first United Nation Agency to provide paternity leave for a period of more than four weeks. Which has allowed the male employees of the UNICEF to spend more time with the new born child, to support and help the mother in taking care of the child.[vi]
Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017:
The Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017, has been proposed in the parliament with the objective of benefiting the natural and adoptive father, and the people acting as in loco parentis by providing equal period of paternity leave and maternity leave. It is also proposed under the bill that the paternity leave shall be increased to 3 months and shall be allowed to be availed by all the employees in all the sectors, including unorganized sector.[vii]
Cases and illustration:
A teacher in a private school had applied for paternity leave for taking care of the newly born child of his and his wife. The school rejected his application for leave and even reduced his salary. The teacher filed a petition challenging the rejection of application and reduction of salary, in High Court. The court decided that all male employees of unaided recognized private schools were entitled to paternity leave, every father should be allowed to take care of his child and his wife and directed the school to refund the deducted amount.[viii]
It can be concluded that, in India, the paternity leave of 15 days is applicable only to the Central Government employees as per the notification made under Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A) by The Central Government in 1999. The paternity leave is applicable to the employees in private companies according to their respective HR policies, as the above mentioned notification is not bound on private companies. But, if the Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017 is implemented by the parliament as a scheme, paternity leave would be applicable to all the employees in India irrespective of the type of sector they are working in. Assuming if the bill is passed, the issue regarding gender equality might be solved, as it would be the first step towards changing the mindset of the society, that it is only woman’s duty to take care of the child.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] Times of India, Is India ready for paternity leave?, June 16, 2019. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spotlight/is-india-ready-for-paternity-leave/articleshow/69801652.cms
[ii] MyAdvo, Maternity and Paternity Leave in India, https://www.myadvo.in/blog/parenting-vis-a-vis-law-in-india/
[iii] Bel-India, What is the state of paternity leave in India, April 1, 2019. https://bel-india.com/what-is-the-state-of-paternity-leave-in-india/
[iv] MyAdvo, Maternity and Paternity Leave in India, https://www.myadvo.in/blog/parenting-vis-a-vis-law-in-india/
[v] Times of India, Is India ready for paternity leave?, June 16, 2019. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spotlight/is-india-ready-for-paternity-leave/articleshow/69801652.cms
[vi] Bel-India, What is the state of paternity leave in India, April 1, 2019. https://bel-india.com/what-is-the-state-of-paternity-leave-in-india/
[vii] NDTV, New Bill Proposes Paternity Leave Across All Sectors, September 17, 2017. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/paternity-leave-across-all-sectors-proposes-private-members-bill-1751408
[viii] Chander Mohan jain v. N.K Bagrodia Public School – 2009 (163) DLT 1
(This case provided relief to private school teachers with respect to paternity leave)