The Sine qua non of Paternity Benefit Laws in India
The article ‘The Sine qua non of Paternity Benefit Laws in India’ is a contemplative approach to urge change in society and thus emphasizes that the sharing of responsibilities between a couple is necessary for the proper upbringing of a child. In all mammals, only the female gives birth to their offspring. Of course, this applies to humans as well, that is, men and women are the biological parents of their children. Giving birth to a Child and growing them is not simply the…
The article ‘The Sine qua non of Paternity Benefit Laws in India’ is a contemplative approach to urge change in society and thus emphasizes that the sharing of responsibilities between a couple is necessary for the proper upbringing of a child. In all mammals, only the female gives birth to their offspring. Of course, this applies to humans as well, that is, men and women are the biological parents of their children. Giving birth to a Child and growing them is not simply the responsibility of women, it’s a responsibility for men also.
Every person has equal status before the law, and the State cannot deny it. In India, paternity leave is not properly formulated in the public and private sectors. Parental leaves should include both maternal and paternal leaves, which are essential to employees to grow the newborn child. It allows the employees to fulfil their parental obligations. This paper reviews the existing laws available in India related to paternity benefits and all around the world.
When a child is born, it needs special attention, care, nurturing and bonding from parents. Parents are a combination of both father and mother. It is essential for parents to spend plenty of time with the child for rearing and take parental leave from the workplace. Births are emotional roller-coasters! Nowadays, many young mothers are affected by Postpartum-depression which may cause psychological disorders.
The fact that the mother needs to recover from any of the physical and mental duress of giving birth. Alike mothers, fathers also need to take some time off after the child is born. Studies show that paternity leave can lead to good health benefits for the mother, increased breastfeeding rates, higher women participation in their occupations, a good environment for infant growth and also prevent the new mother from postpartum disease. Parental leave is a combination of maternity and paternity leave. Maternity leave is pretty universally accepted and expected, but it is unfortunate that paternal leave has not been recognized effectively by the government.
Maternity Leave and Laws
According to Merriam-Webster, “Maternity Leave” means the time that the woman has taken off from work to care for her newborn child. The ILO created the first global standard in 1919 aimed at protecting working women before and after childbirth, in The Maternity Protection Convention. The maternity Protection Convention of 2000 recommended not less than 14 weeks of maternity leave after childbirth.
In countries which provide cash benefits through social security, the ILO standard says that a woman should be paid at a rate of not less than two-thirds of her previous insured earnings, with full health benefits. Thus, all the members of ILO, like India, were directed to frame their policies aligning with these directions. As per major universal human rights treaties, motherhood protection is considered a fundamental labour right, and also it states that motherhood and childhood shall be given special care and assistance.
Maternity Benefits in India
The Indian Constitution Articles 14, 15, 15(3), 16 and 39 contain provisions for the protection of women’s rights and ensure Fair justice and equal rights for women under the law. It forbids discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or origin and ensures that all people have equal access to opportunities in employment-related matters. All these provisions were enshrined in the constitution to empower the government to take constructive steps in their favour and guarantee women a fair and gender-neutral society.
The Preamble to the Indian Constitution underlines our commitment towards social, political and economic justice. Correlated with Article 42 of the Indian Constitution, The Maternity Benefit Act, of 1961 was enacted to protect female employees during their maternity period from losing their jobs. It allows women to take paid leave when absent from work to take care of the child. A woman to be eligible for the benefits under this Act should be an employee in an establishment for a period of at least 80 days in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery.
After the Amendment to the Act in 2017, the period of maternity leave has been extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. For those women who are expecting after having 2 children, the duration of the leave remains unaltered at 12 weeks in all establishments, including the private sector. Also, other such extensions have been made. Any eligible female worker can approach the courts if she is denied maternity benefits by her employer.
Paternity Leave across World Wide
Maternity leave is very common worldwide. Indeed Paternity leave is a quietly modern culture necessary for new fathers to grow their children in a healthy environment. Global data from the World Policy Analysis Center shows the number of countries providing paid leave for fathers from 1995 to 2015, it is increased from 21% to 52%.
In Lithuania Paternity benefit is paid to the father for 30 calendar days after the birth of the child, and the benefit can extend until the child is one year old. It is equal to 77.58% of earnings. In Japan, Male employees will be entitled to get leave for four weeks, in one or two instalments, within eight weeks after birth. Benefits will be payable by social security at 67%. The Nordic welfare states were the 1st to publicly promote greater use of paternity leave by declaring parental leave gender-neutral.
Paternity Leave in India
Unlike Maternity Benefits, there is no uniform legislation for Paternity leave in India. But some sectors have their own benefits and rules for the employees in terms of paternity leaves. The government issued a notification for paternal leave under Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1972.
A male Government servant (including an apprentice) with less than two surviving children may be granted Paternity Leave for a period of 15 days during the confinement of his wife for childbirth and on valid adoption of a child below the age of one year, may be granted Paternity Leave for a period of 15 days within a period of six months from the date of valid adoption. Few private sectors set out their own provisions for their employees regarding paternal leaves. But it is not a compulsory obligation for the employer to provide such leaves.
Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017
The Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017 was proposed by the Congress MP. Rajeev Satav in the Lok Sabha. The main objective of this bill is that a paternity leave policy can help in incremental attitudinal changes and remove gender role distinctions in our society. The bill aims to provide benefits to the biological parent and adoptive parent. The Bill is very essential to provide uniform legislation of Paternity leaves in public, private, organized and unorganized sectors. The bill made fathers to avail of 15 days of fully paid leave, out of which up to 7 days can be availed preceding the expected date of pregnancy. The leave can be taken within three months after the birth of the child.
Various articles of our Indian Constitution ensure gender equality. Childbirth and care are the joint responsibility of the father and mother. Paternity leave is the father’s right to take paid leave in case of the birth or adoption of the child. Hesitating the Paternal leave may deprive the early bonding between the father and the newborn child. It shall be the duty of the State to enact the law related the Paternity leave to ensure the fair participation of a man in child rearing and to build a better relationship with his newborn child.
 Constitution of India, Available Here