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Trending: Call for Papers Volume 3 | Issue 2: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

Does India Have Paternity Benefit?

ABSTRACT

Gender inequality not only harms women besides it also affects men. This gender inequality not only exists in job, income, education, health but also in taking care of the children. There is a general myth that men are the sole breadwinner of the family, and women are intended only to take care of the children. This traditional gender stereotype has to be broken down. We can have no advancement without change. Countries like Sweden, South Korea are setting various laws regarding paternity benefits for breaking down gender inequality. These laws will benefit new fathers since they get an opportunity to enjoy themselves with their newborns. 

India is a country packed with traditional philosophies. We are in 2020, as the culture is changing individuals are also trying to accommodate themselves to the changes. The belief that only women and girls are harmed by gender inequality is made wrong. Even men encounter it too, notably regarding child care. India is aiming to exterminate gender inequality. In efforts to it, it is enacting many laws, policies, etc. One such effort is that it implemented a Paternity Bill. If this bill gets sanctioned it will benefit half of the population. This paper explains about Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017, and the problems in providing paternity benefit. It gives detail regarding the countries and private sectors which provide paternity leave.

Keywords: Maternity benefit, Maternity and Paternity leave, Adoption, Miscarriage, Gender inequality.

INTRODUCTION 

Our lifestyles are changing from day to day. Due to many changes in the political, social, and economic sphere, the concept of joint family has become outmoded. So, many opt for the nuclear family. The purpose of the degeneration of the joint family is the rise in opportunities in cities, and it’s hard to shift the whole family into cities since the cost of living is high in cities. As a result of a nuclear family, young couples face many difficulties. The major problem is that there is no one to help new parents to take care of their newborn. By analyzing this reality, the government of India introduced the Maternity Benefit Act, through which a female worker can avail 26 weeks of paid leave. Even though the maternity benefit issue is finalized, the problem still exists with the Paternity Benefit Bill. Society thinks that the mother is only responsible for child care, and the father is the only earning person in the family. But the fact is that both father and mother are responsible for child care. Therefore, the laws and policies for paternal benefit should be made.

NEED FOR PATERNITY BENEFIT

Paternity leave is nothing but a leave granted to fathers before or after the delivery of the child. The main intention is to reduce the chance of the woman leaving the job due to child care. As a result of this, mothers will be able to get much-needed support from the fathers. It allows both father and mother to cherish the moments of their newborn together. On the whole, it provides benefits to natural parents and adoptive parents. It is mandatory to provide flexible maternity and paternity leaves because we are living in a country where a family is of utmost significance to us.

DOES INDIA HAVE PATERNITY LEAVE?

At present, India has no national law for paternity leave that will benefit all public, private, and mixed sectors. But there is some benefit for employees working under the government sector. All India and Central Civil Services Rules currently allow 15 days of paternity leave to Central Government employees. It could be taken before or within six months from the date of delivery of their child. If they don’t take leave, it will be considered as lapsed. For paternity leave, salary will be paid equal to the pay last drawn immediately before proceeding on leave. It even applies to the adoption of a child.

INITIATIVE FOR PATERNITY BENEFIT BILL, 2017

Indian government enacted a new Act named the Maternity Benefit Act 1961. Through this act, the woman can avail 12 weeks of paid leave. It was the best initiative taken by the government to help women during their pregnancy. Later by 2017, the Indian government amended the Maternity Benefit Act through which the period of maternity leaves extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. It benefited millions of working women in various organizations.

During the discussion of Maternity Benefit, the MPs from across the party line said that though this act has plenty of benefits, it also has some lacunae. The major one is that there is no provision for Paternity Benefit in the legislation. So after the 2017 Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, there was a private member bill known as the Paternity Benefit Bill. It suggests paid paternity leave for up to 3 months. This new bill states that it benefits all men from the private, public, and mixed sectors. If the bill gets sanctioned, it protects the paternity rights of the working father.

Rajeev Satav, an MP from Maharashtra, has been the cheerleader of this bill, and he stated that “Child care is the joint responsibility of both parents. They must devote time to the newborn to ensure their proper well-being”.

PATERNITY BENEFIT BILL, 2017

Applicability: 

The Act shall apply to all or any of the establishments just like the factory, mine, plantation and also to each establishment wherein persons are employed for the exhibition of equestrian, acrobatic and other performances either belonging to the government or private sector. These provisions will also apply to every establishment or shop in which ten or more persons are employed.

Eligible criteria:

Paternity benefit is given to the men, only if he has worked in an establishment for not less than eighty days immediately preceding the date of delivery of the child.

Duration of leave:

If a man has less than two surviving children, he shall get the paternity benefit for fifteen days. Out of which not more than seven days shall precede the date of expected delivery. He can take three months of leave from the date of delivery of the child.

There are certain exceptional cases like –

  • If a man who is eligible for paternity benefit under this act, dies before receiving the amount then the employer should give it to the person nominated by him.
  • If a child dies during the paternity period then the employer should grant the paternity benefit until the days up to the death of the child. 
  • In case of adoption, every man who legally adopts a child below the age of three months shall be entitled to paternity benefit for fifteen days from the date the child is handed over to the adopting father. 
  • In case when the child is born to the commissioning mother then the paternity benefit for fifteen days is given to the legal husband of the commissioning mother from the date the child is handed over to the legal husband of the commissioning mother. 
  • In the case of miscarriage, a man shall be entitled to leave with wages for seven days on the production of such proof. 

Payment:

Every employee will receive the salary for paternity leave at the same rate as the average daily wage payable to him on all days which he has worked.

Punishment:

An employer shall be punished with imprisonment which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to one year and a fine shall be imposed which shall not be less than twenty thousand rupees but which can reach fifty thousand rupees if he fails to pay the amount of paternity benefit to a man or discharges or dismisses him on account of his absence from work then the employer.
An employer shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with a fine which can reach fifty thousand rupees, or with both, if he contravenes the provisions of the paternity benefit act for which no penalty is provided under this Act for such contravention.

PATERNITY BENEFIT IN PRIVATE SECTOR

When considering the workers employed in the private sector, the decision entirely depends upon the employers. Some organizations may or may not grant paternity leave. But in the case of Chander Mohan Jain v. N.K Bagrodia Public School, Chander Mohan was a private school teacher. The case was filed in Delhi High Court, challenging the rejection of his application for paternity leave and salary deduction. The fact of the case is that he took 15 days of leave after his wife’s delivery to take care of his newborn and his wife. But the school rejected his application and deducted salary stating that it had no provision for paternity leave. The court held that salary, allowances, leave, and benefits should be granted to male employees of unaided recognized private schools.

COMPANIES IN INDIA WHICH OFFER PATERNITY BENEFIT

It is challenging for the organization to make serious progress when there is no benefit to the employees. Especially when there is no policy for paternity leave, it gradually reduces the success rate of the organization since the father has a responsibility to take care of their family more than fulfilling the work demand. No one should think that their career will be a problem if they have a child. So on analyzing the difficulties faced by new parents, they should frame a parental policy that will maintain a work-life balance. Moreover, the organization gets benefited because they will not lose a talented employee. It will also break the gender inequality that men are not meant only to work but also to take care of their families.
Few of the organization in India which grant paternity leave are:

  1. Ikea offers six-month parental leave.
  2. Zomato grants 26 weeks of paid leave for new fathers.
  3. Walmart expanded its paid parental leave policy to a full six weeks.
  4. Star India gives new fathers a month of paternity leave
  5. Hotstar offers male employees are entitled to 4 weeks (20 working days) of paid paternity leave.
  6. Flipkart offers 15days of paternity leave.
  7. SBI grants 15 days of paternity leave. 
  8. Tesco Bengaluru offers paid leave of two weeks. 
  9. Tata steel allows ten days of paternity leave.
  10. Mindtree allows a week of paternity leave.
  11. Tech Mahindra allows a week of paid paternity leave. 
  12. TVS Motor offers six days of paternity leave. 
  13. HCL technologies offer 5working days of paid paternity leave. 

COUNTRIES WHICH OFFER PATERNITY BENEFIT 

The countries wealth depends upon the citizen’s share of the economy. People can contribute 100% only if they receive benefits. The most important benefits are maternity and paternity benefits. Many countries offer maternity benefits, yet they show less interest in providing paternity benefits. There are certain countries which provide paternity benefits. They are-

  1. ICELAND – It offers nine months of leave, out of which three months for the father, three months for the mother, and the remaining three months open for both to share between them.
  2. AUSTRALIA – Eligible employees get up to 18 weeks paid leave at the national minimum wage. In most cases, these payments are given to the employer first, who then pays it to the employees. 
  3. SWEDEN – It offers 90 days of paternity leave to new fathers with 80% pay of their salary. 
  4. PAKISTAN – It offers 3months of paternity leave. 
  5. FINLAND – Fathers are entitled to 54 working days. 
  6. SLOVENIA – It offers 30 days of fully compensated paternity leave to fathers. 
  7. MYANMAR – Fathers are entitled to 15 days of paternity leave. 
  8. KENYA – Fathers are entitled to 2 weeks of fully paid paternity leave. But it is based on the condition that the only men whose wives are recognized by their employers will get paternity leave. 
  9. SOUTH KOREA – Fathers can take ten days of paid paternity leave within 90 days of childbirth, subject to fulfilling the following eligibility criteria.
  10. MALAYSIA – It offers seven days of paternity leave to civil servants; some state government employees can take up to 14 days. 
  11. PORTUGAL – It offers five consecutive days after the birth of the child for fathers, and additional ten days are allowed within 30 days of childbirth. 
  12. ITALY – It offers five days of compulsory paid paternity leave. 
  13. HONG KONG – It offers five days of paid paternity leave for each child. It is allowed four weeks before the expected date of delivery and ten weeks following the birth of the child. 
  14. SAUDI ARABIA – Fathers are entitled to three days of paid paternity leave. 

PROBLEMS IN PROVIDING PATERNITY BENEFIT

1. When an organization announces paternity benefit, the ultimate burden is on the employer. Sometimes the employer will be facing a financial crisis. As a result, he will not offer a parental benefit, and he may stop hiring many employees. It will lead to an unemployment situation. So the best solution is for the government has to take responsibility and provide parental benefits from the government funds.
2. Though many organizations offer paternity benefits, many dads do not avail complete paternity leave. The male breadwinner norm may be the barrier. They also have a fear that some temporary person would occupy their position during their absence from work. They overthink that the firm will put them on the top of the list for layoff.

CONCLUSION

As we are in 2020, society is also switching its thoughts from gender-based to gender equality. In the same way, India is also trying to change its status from a developing country to a developed country. It is important for the Indian government should acknowledge paternity leave because it is as essential as maternity leave. Both the parents have equal rights to look after the newborn and enjoy the precious moment together. It is necessary to provide both maternity and paternity leave for the well-being of the child. So, the government should enact laws that would break down all the barriers and enable men to avail complete paternity leave.

REFERENCES

1. https://www.toppr.com/guides/legal-aptitude/labour-laws/the-maternity-benefit-act-1961/
2. https://www.thebetterindia.com/115826/paternity-benefit-bill-pushes-for-three-month-leave-for-new-fathers/
3. https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/paternity-benefit-bill-1048602-2017-09-20
4. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/paternity-leave-across-all-sectors-proposes-private-members-bill-1751408
5. https://www.lawcommunity.in/blog-post/paternity-leave
6. IMAGE CREDITS- ROBERT NEUBECKER
Author: K.R.R.Sakthi Manjari

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