The concept of providing paternity perks is still lagging behind, in terms of development in Indian organisations as compared to the West. Paternity leaves and perks were unheard of. But due to modernisation, these concepts are being accepted and implemented in many organisations. The idea of only a new mother enjoying maternity paid leave to spend some quality time with her kid is so passe. Even working dads can avail of these benefits along with the option of working from home.
“Many progressive organisations have realised that changes are inevitable and have made significant progress by realising that gender inclusion doesn’t mean enabling and empowering not only women, but also looking at needs of male employees, particularly as generations and social norms undergo a change,” says Prithvi Shergill, lead-HR, Accenture.
Adding on the same lines, Rahul Sharma, senior VP HR, IIFL says, “Not many organisations have introduced the concept of paternity or adoption leaves. But these require a certain amount of work-life balance to be added to the lives of the male employees. Most organisations tend to look at the loss of productivity factor in such cases, without realising that in those initial days, it requires both, mother and father to adapt to new changes in their lives and productivity from the concerned employee would be low. But in cases wherein paternity/adoption leave is granted, then male employees would return with full gusto.”
Experts in the industry say that there is no bias as such when it comes to gender, as it is a known and proven fact that a new mother requires more care, but emotionally, both parents require the strength to adjust to the new change that has taken place in their lives. “The first step, which the management can take is to educate all senior executives and leaders through a focused programme. They can organise workforce sensitisation workshops. There should also be strong talent management practices, so that people exercising these rights/perks do not get impacted negatively during performance management or promotion decisions, etc,” says Shergill.
Organisations have to get through to the employees the fact that a policy as such exists, which has many paternity perks that the employee can avail. Also, impart the employee with enough confidence that using these perks will not reduce their stand in the organisation. “These paternity perks not only strengthen the bond between the couple, but also between the employee and company, which in turn, will improve the retention rate, besides increasing engagement levels,” concludes Sharma.