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Paternity Leave – An Equal Partnership in Nurturing

“Child care is the joint responsibility of both the parents. They must devote time to the new born to ensure its proper well-being.”  – Rajiv Satav, Member of Parliament, Maharashtra

Introduction

After the baby is born, the mother’s presence is important to the baby’s health and she needs the support of her partner at the time. The care of a new born child is the responsibility of both mother and father. This leads to an increase in the distribution of work and family responsibilities as a result of which eliminates the “second shift” crisis where a woman does all the household chores even after working all day for pay.

Currently in India, under the Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A), the public sector (Central) provides men for paternity leave of 15 days in advance or up to six months from the date of childbirth. These provisions have limitations such benefits must be taken when a father has less than two surviving children.[1]

The Importance of Paternity Leave

Paternity leave is a period of various weeks or months when the new father is allowed to stay home from work.

Men alike may be reluctant to take parental leave for fear of being punished at work, however making it a commitment and a new standard will help us get closer to the uniformity. Paternity leave is especially effective in the way men interact with their children.

According to a 2011 study, paid parental leave reduces the risk of infant and child mortality by up to 10%, and is related to reducing the cost of infant mortality under 5 years by 9%. The father’s assistance in the early stages of parenting help mother quickly return to work and is related to increased breastfeeding rates.[2]

Father-Child Relationship

Being a parent, and should be, a job shared equally among partners. Adequate access to paternity leave will not only allow a father to be close to his newborn but also develop an open door for the child to grow up to provide a strong bond between the two of them.

The paternity benefits leaves are taken to the care of the children. It empowers fathers to spend time and bond with their child throughout the formative months. This normal nurturing between the two genders has a profound effect on a child’s development.

The Lamb, Pleck, Charnov, and Levine (1985) identified three factors that are impacted by the presence of a father, which occurs only in the leaves of the father. These are engagement (direct interactions with children), accessibility (being available to children), and responsibility (decision making about or children’s programs). These studies allow us to build a causal relationship between the influence of paternal leaves on future social, emotional, and psychological development.[3]

Paternity Leave in Various Nations and in India

[4]Paternity leave was born back in the 1970’s, but it was limited to a few countries. It took shape during the first two decades of the new millennium. Worldwide, 90 of the 187 countries offer paid parental leave.

paternity-leave-various-nation
Source: Organisation For Economic Co-Operation And Development

The European country of Lithuania gives fathers 30 days of paternal leave paid 77.58% of the normal wage. Japan offers one full year of paid parental leave only for fathers. Sweden gives both parents access to 480 days of collective leave with partial income. Estonia provides fathers with two weeks’ 100% paid parental leave, plus an additional 435 days of joint parental leave. Iceland offers maternity and paternity leave for 12 months, equally divided between mother and father (six months each).[5]

India

There are no national standards regarding paternity leave in India. Under Section 551 (A) of Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A), the public sector (Central) provides men with paternity leave 15 days before or up to six months from the date of childbirth. These provisions have limitations such benefits must be taken when a father has less than two surviving children. These provisions also apply if there is a child adoption. Private sectors are not legally bound and require such provisions.[6]

However, [7]only mothers in India can get maternity benefits through the Maternity Benefit Act. This Maternity Act is applicable to women employed in non-public and public sectors.

Paternity Leave And Basic Rights

The paternity leave right in India undermines the fundamental principles of Articles 14, 15 and 16 and 42 of the Constitution of India.

Women’s maternity leave rights are protected under Article 42 of the Indian Constitution and the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961. The lack of any such guidance or right for the father implies that child rearing is the sole responsibility of the woman, making it a barrier to a gender-neutral society.

Indeed, even after 75 years of independence, men’s roles for greater emphasis mean that it is only the mother’s responsibility to care for her child that continues to exist. Despite the fact that the mother naturally gives birth to a child, studies have shown that both the mother and the father are equally important in the child’s development. Article 42 is therefore incomplete in the sense that it does not remove the stigma attached to human roles in human society.

The right to equality includes both men and women, without fail, as it is under Article 14. Thus, child care must be granted to both caregivers, without bias, segregation (Article 15) or discrimination.

Paternity Benefits Bill, 2017

The idea behind the Paternity Benefit Bill is to recognize the role of fathers as role players in raising children, and to give new fathers the opportunity to meet their children without compromising their need to care for their families.

It aims to address the formal sector (public sector), informal sector (private sector) and the private sector. Every male worker, who has worked for at least 80 days in the area, is entitled to paternity benefits.

In addition, the Paternity Benefit Bill proposes the creation of a fund known as the Paternal Benefit Scheme. Under the terms of the Fund, the employer, employee and Central Government must contribute a certain amount to the fund.

As indicated by the guidelines, the employer must pay the paternity amount prematurely after presenting the relevant evidence that the employee’s wife will have a child. The paternity benefits are given for a period of 15 days, no more than 7 days before the expected date of birth, and are available for three months from the child’s date of birth provided having less than two surviving children.

An employer who refuses to pay any amount of paternity benefit to a man eligible under this Act shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than three months but not more than one year and a fine of not less than Rs.20,000 but not more than Rs.50,000.

Paternity Leave: Public and Private Sectors

The Central Government in 1999, under the Central Public Service (Leave) Rule 551 (A), introduced the paternity leave provisions in India, which apply only to employees working in the public sector.

However, there has never been such a law regarding the Private Sector in the country. Employers, of their own free will or by being bound by other Company Policies extend that leave benefit but are not legally obliged to do so. Therefore, it has no legal force.

There are many private organizations around the world that have introduced paternity leave through their HR strategies.

  1. Microsoft has decided to grant 12 weeks’ paternity leave.
  2. Infosys only allows 5 days off for paternity leave.
  3. TCS allows 15 days of paternity leave.
  4. Cisco (India) allows 12 weeks paternity leave.
  5. IKEA India allows a 6 months’ paternity leave with a condition that the female parent goes to work, aiming to break the stereotype.[8]

In Chander Mohan Jain v. N.K Bagrodia Public School, Chander Mohan Jain, a private school teacher, challenged N K Bagrodia Public School’s denial of his paternity leave application and deduction of his salary for taking leave to provide for his wife and newly born child in the High Court of Delhi in 2009. Despite the lack of regulation, the Delhi High Court ruled that all male staff of unaided recognized private schools is entitled to paternity leave in this case. The court then ordered the school to refund Chander Mohan Jain the money that had been deducted. As a result, private-sector teachers are being relieved as they are under the control of Director of Education and thus CCS (paid) leave would be applicable.[9]

Conclusion

The lawmakers must take an action as paternity leave is an important part. The absence of paternity leave not just denies new fathers of the pivotal opportunity to bond with their infant child yet in addition supports women as sole caregivers.

The amendment to Article 42 would be instrumental in creating a statement of the value of education in a gender-neutral society.

[1] International Journal of Management and Applied Science, ISSN: 2394-7926 Volume-3, Issue-9, Sep.2017

[2] https://www.cleverism.com/paternity-leave/

[3] International Journal of Policy Sciences and Law Volume 1, Issue 4

[4] https://www.livemint.com/news/world/from-one-year-to-10-days-a-look-at-paternity-leaves-around-the-world-11625195516054.html

[5] https://www.safeguardglobal.com/resources/blog/paternity-leave-by-country

[6] International Journal of Management and Applied Science, ISSN: 2394-7926 Volume-3, Issue-9, Sep.2017

[7] Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

[8] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spotlight/is-india-ready-for-paternityleave/articleshow/69801652.cms

[9]https://www.ijlmh.com/wp-content/uploads/Paternity-Leave-Amending-Article-42.pdf

About Author – This article has been written by Diwash Saibya, 3rd Year BA. LL.B (H) student at Indian Institute Of Legal Studies, Siliguri

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