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Paternity Leave in India: What Are the Rules?

March 24, 2023

As gender-balanced parental leave policies increase, more countries are offering paternal leave, which can lead to work-life balance for employees and their families with additional benefits for companies.

In India, paternity leave is an important policy for ensuring new fathers have the time and resources to bond with their newborns. With more Indian male employees embracing this benefit, it’s important for employers, and remote employers in particular, to understand its nuances and ensure compliance.

As an employer, you must know exactly what the rules are when it comes to taking paternity leave in India, from the law governing paternity leave to how long employees are allowed to take off work and your responsibilities to the employee. You can also learn more about employee benefits in India here.

Paternity Leave Laws in India

The legal framework for paternity leave in India is provided by the Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A), 1972, which mandates certain benefits for eligible male employees. Eligible male employees (government employees) are entitled to a leave of 15 days within six months of the birth or adoption of a child.

To be eligible, an employee must have worked for an organization for at least 80 days in the 12 months before the date of the expected delivery or adoption. The rule also provides for associated benefits, such as payment of full wages during the leave period.

Employees also have other paternity leave rights:

  • Paternity leave is separate from other types of leave, so it cannot be deducted from the employee’s leave account.
  • Employers can’t deny an employee’s paternity leave request.

There are also some limitations to paternity leave benefits:

  • If an employee fails to take the leave within the specified time frame, it will be considered lapsed.
  • In the case of adoption, paternity leave provisions only apply when the child being adopted is under the age of one.

It’s important to note that the 15-day leave is only available to central government employees, and there is no formal policy in place for private-sector employees. 

Following the approval of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act in 2017, a bill to provide paternity benefits to all employees was introduced in 2017, but it was not passed in parliament. But despite the lack of legislation mandating paternity leave, many private companies continue to provide the benefit, albeit under their own rules.

Best Practices for Implementing Paternity Leave Policies

As paternity leave gains traction among Indian employees and the competition for top talent intensifies, it’s critical for companies looking to hire in India to prioritize providing paternity leave policies as a key component of their employee benefits packages.

The following are some best practices for implementing paternity leave policies in India:

  • Ensure that your paternity leave policies align with India’s labor laws and regulations. 
  • Communicate the company’s paternity leave policy and benefits to employees. This includes providing an outline of provisions for your organization’s paternity leave and ensuring that employees understand their rights and obligations under the policy. All relevant information about eligibility for leave should be clearly stated in a written policy document and communicated to employees in a timely manner.
  • Ensure employees have clear guidance on what they need to apply for leave. An easy application process will ensure that employees feel supported.
  • Provide support for employees during and after the leave period.

Examples of companies that have successfully implemented paternity leave policies in India include Tata Consultancy Services, Zomato, and Wipro.

Zomato gives 26 weeks of paternal leave (similar to India’s mandated maternity leave) and an endowment of INR 69,000 to new parents. Wipro provides eight weeks of paid paternal leave and Tata consultancy provides 15 days. In Wipro’s case, leave is given to biological and adoptive parents, as well as individuals acting in loco parentis (in place of a parent) to the child.

Comparison Of Indian Paternity Leave Policies with the World

In India, paternity leave is a relatively new concept. Although the government has made some progress in providing paternity leave to fathers, it still lags behind other countries in terms of duration, availability, and benefits.

For instance, the country’s current 15-day leave policy is much less than the average global rate of 18 weeks. Moreover, several countries provide up to over a year of fully paid paternity leave, allowing parents enough time to bond with their newborns without worrying about financial insecurity. Sweden, for example, provides 480 days of paid parental leave.

Some countries offer additional benefits such as parental tax credits and subsidies for childcare costs. Global trends in paternity leave policies are also moving toward longer leave periods and gender-neutral policies.

Companies with remote teams in India should be aware of the differences in paternity leave policies between countries and strive to implement policies that adhere to global best practices. This is a critical component of the overall push toward skill-based remuneration and treatment, which is consistent with the implementation of geo-neutral salaries.

The Business Case for Paternity Leave

Paternity leave is an important issue in India, as fathers are increasingly taking on a larger role in child-rearing. But besides the benefits to fathers and their families, offering paternity leave to employees also comes with numerous benefits for businesses:

More Job Satisfaction and Retention

Companies that offer paternity leave show their commitment to supporting family life and helping employees balance work and home responsibilities. It also shows the company’s commitment to employees’ wellbeing. This will likely increase job satisfaction and employee retention, thus reducing turnover costs.

Increased Productivity and Engagement

Employees who take paternity leave are more likely to be productive and engaged upon returning to work. They feel more supported and less stressed, which can positively impact their work performance.

Improved Work-Life Balance

Paternity leave helps new fathers achieve a better work-life balance by allowing them to spend time with their newborns and support their partners during the early stages of parenthood. This can lead to improved mental health and reduced stress levels, which can positively impact performance once the fathers go back to work. 

Enhanced Company Culture

Companies that offer paternity leave demonstrate that they value fatherhood just as much as motherhood when it comes to childcare responsibilities. This can lead to a more positive company culture and help attract top talent.

Legal Compliance

In many countries, paternity leave is a legal requirement. Offering paternity leave can help startups comply with local regulations and avoid legal issues.

Given the many advantages of offering paid paternity leaves, businesses should strongly consider adopting policies that provide these opportunities for their employees. Doing so will not only support family life but also likely bring long-term gains (both financial and non-financial) to the company.

Providing Paternal Leave Benefits in India the Seamless Way

Providing paternal leave benefits in India is not only a progressive step towards creating a more equitable and family-friendly workplace, but also a crucial one in promoting gender equality and empowering working parents. By implementing seamless and effective systems for paternal leave, companies can attract and retain top Indian talent while also fostering a culture of inclusivity and support for all employees.

As we move toward more global workplaces, companies need to know enough about each country’s hiring process before hiring remotely from it, including leave policies and the general cultural climate. However, learning the intricacies of each country's labor laws and business culture can be cumbersome and time-consuming in most cases.

It’s easier to stay ahead of the curve with the support of an expert team that handles all aspects of global hiring. Instead of setting up your own entity in India or handling all the hiring details on your own, you can work with an Employer of Record (EOR) like Remofirst to handle talent hiring and onboarding, all while ensuring compliance and without having to set up a business entity in India. You can also visit our partner Uplers if you're looking to source remote Indian talent.

Remofirst is a cost-effective way to go international. This India country guide outlines how we can help you hire, pay, and effectively manage Indian talent the simple and efficient way.