More than any law or policy, the truth is that society needs to change, particularly when it comes to paternity leave. From Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to Zomato giving its employees equal parental leave, men taking paternity is still considered novel; Zuckerberg made headlines across the world when he did so. However, India, on the other hand, is among 90 out of 180 countries who do not have national policies for fathers to take time from work for their children.
Nuclear family dads need to be hands-on
Are corporates in India and its employees ready to take time off work? "In India, the concept of paternity leave is new and many men don’t even avail it, even if they get it. It’s more about the mindset than companies or laws. Also, new parents here have a huge support system, be it the parents or domestic help. But, in a nuclear family, it’s imperative for fathers to be more hands-on. Slowly, people are becoming more aware," said one employee. However, a majority of men reveal that they have barely seen their peers take any sort of paternity, it's always the usual day or two. Moreover, many men believe that taking a sabbatical from work is a setback because they could miss out on important opportunities and even promotions.
Most companies do not promote paternity leave
The problem is that Indian culture does not hold men responsible for childcare and as a result less than 50 percent of fathers in India will take paternity leave which is offered by their company. Men are still considered the sole breadwinners and here is where the issue begins. Meanwhile, companies do not promote paternity leave among men; many men have don't even know that they can avail this. Companies are afraid to lose out on talent, however, they are also putting unnecessary pressure on their male employees. Men are equally responsible for their family as much as women and if their personal life is suffering their professional life will too. Therefore, the younger generation along with the old must be trained to do away with traditional gender roles if both Indian men and women want to advance on the professional front.
Image credit: Hindustan Times