As the years rolled, the trends have also changed. I can see women empowerment and I can also see birth to a new concept of Paternity benefits. I want to start off by asking questions: Does men give birth to a child? Why does he need a Paternity Benefit? Indeed, wouldn’t he Misuse the Benefit?
I usually hear this Phrase “childcare is a joint responsibility of both the parents”. The fact is that, this is been told for years but the concept of paternity benefit is in action only after 1999 under Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A), but this limits to the central government employees alone, which means it is not obligatory to the private sector. Few of the essence of the paternity benefit rules are:
i. Government Employee
ii. Less than 2 surviving child
iii. Not more than 15 days of leave sanctioning
iv. 15 days leave can be availed before, or within 6 months from the birth of the child
v. If such leave benefit is not claimed, it is considered to be lapsed
vi. Paid leave & payment for the same will be made before the availed leave.
vii. Applicable to both own & adopted child
No legislation : a way for interpretation:
The above mentioned is a merely a rule; there is a difference between a rule and a legislation/law. Moreover, the controversy of considering the Paternity leave would arise only in the case of private sector. As of now, we don’t have any Supreme Court judgement with reference to it. However, in the case of Chander Mohan Jain v/s N.K. Bagrodia Public School & Others (2009 (163)DLT 1) the Delhi HC court held that though being a private school the petitioner were able to prove that it was a genuine paternity leave and the court considered it to be a paternity leave and no salary should be deducted. The court also decides on the point that “all male employees of unaided recognized private schools were entitled to paternity leave”.
The research about the topic has helped me to think about certain things, as I said before the paternity benefit is a whole new concept for the Indian society. The structure of family is dynamic; earlier most people resided with joint families while now almost majority of families are nuclear.
So, as far the topic is concerned, the whole idea was that, the employer is bound to give a comfortable atmosphere with sufficient mental and physical rest. And we being a culturally bound country, employer must consider that ‘the child is a new start to the chapter of their employee’s family’. There should also be equal opportunity given to the Male to bond with the newborn.
International colors on Paternity:
The International Labor Organization’s Maternity and Paternity at Work Report 2014, was of the opinion of more than being a support to the wife, they need this Paternity Leave to bean active Co-parents when it comes to childcare. It’s also interesting to note that UNICEF is the first body to introduce paternity leave. A lot of companies are granting paternity leave and have separate policy for the same. Few of the good examples are:Facebook, Microsoft, Infosys, Starbucks, TCS, etc.
In India, the Paternity Benefit Bill is introduced in the parliament in the year 2017, for the purpose of benefiting the people who are loco parentis, i.e. guardians. This bill mainly aimed for two things: firstly, increasing the leave period to 3 months; and finally, this benefit should be applicable for all the sectors. However, the bill lapsed without being passed. Assuming if the bill reintroduced in a new form, and is passed this would be a touchstone to change the mindsets of the People that this is a shared onus on the couple to take care of the child. But there are also reports on many does not avail the Paternity benefit as it could a setback for their career opportunities and few doesn’t even know such benefit exist. So, are they any better way of restructuring of Paternity Benefit is a rational way?