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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has planned a two month paternity leave as he, along with his wife Priscilla Chan, is eager to welcome the new member in their family. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that he and his wife are expecting a baby girl. It was then when he also disclosed that Priscilla has had three miscarriages earlier. According to him studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.
Why Zuckerberg’s decision really matters?
When Zuckerberg decided to take two months paternity leave, it is not just about being good parent but it also sends strong message across the industry and corporate world that proves that when boss is taking the leave, the policy of organization is authentic and employees have sense of security when it comes to juggling between personal and professional life.
Paternity leave in India
Paternity leave is a benefit given to a male employee on becoming a parent. This policy was introduced in India a decade ago by technology companies who wanted to attract talent and be known for their HR practices. This benefit is now also prevalent in government and public sector companies, which offer up to a maximum of 15 days of leave. Employees are expected to apply for the leave six months from the delivery due date. However, the benefit is not a mandatory requirement unlike the maternity leave.
Are Indian fathers ready for paternity leave?
In patriarchal Indian society, most fathers remain away from the process of child birth and child care. Sometimes it is due to age old tradition where women mostly go to their parent’s house for delivery Also men are considered to be breadwinners in India where most of their duties are considered to be fulfilled if they earn enough money for the family. Most of them don’t believe in work-life balance or help the wife in household chores and child care. Though the biological process of pregnancy and bringing a child into this world is something where a woman is more involved, but once the child arrives it is equal responsibility for both the parents. Slowly and steadily a lot of Indian men understanding this and are taking a more active role in child rearing.
Importance of Paternity leave s for dads
·Paternity leave gives men an opportunity to develop a stronger bond with the child from birth. It also gives them an opportunity to be a part of growing child important milestones and providing them a balanced childhood in a long run.
·It can prove to be a relief to mother also who are already struggling with new responsibilities, doubts, stress and anxiety that comes with motherhood.
· Fathers tend to develop better parenting instincts after taking paternity leave.
· It can also provide equality to gender roles of the family.
Though a lot of Indian companies are increasingly waking up to the need to introduce paternity leave policies, the question is are they doing enough?
I think social and government policies in India needs urgent revisions as a lot of resource is invested in a woman’s education and development and losing her out from the workplace is not helping the country at all. Also it is time that we include fathers as an equal partner in parenting and not just a money provider to the child’s expenses.
Zuckerberg's announcement has brought an important issue to light that most companies choose to ignore; perhaps, it is time to revisit HR policies and government mandates. It is indeed an exemplary and inspiring incident for all those men who must have ever considered taking a paternity leave or those women who had wished their husbands could have taken a leave to help her out with the baby in the early days!
It is said “It needs a village to raise a child”. So let’s start that by including the father in that village first. Dads want to bond with their baby too, and I am sure mommies would love to get a helping hand!