In India, there’s a clear segregation between what a man’s supposed to do and what a woman’s supposed to do. Like for instance, a man is usually the breadwinner and the woman is the homemaker. However, these longstanding norms are being challenged in the modern world and HOW!
Today’s mothers are pitching in equally, if not more and the dads don’t shy from changing a diaper or two! Taking care of the newborn child isn’t just a long list of tasks for the father. Today’s fathers prefer to be more involved. The best part – no one is coaxing them to join the prenatal classes or to take turns in feeding, soothing or changing the baby, they do it for the sheer joy of being connected to their child!
Last year my brother, an established Software Engineer in Norway, was blessed with a baby girl. His thoughts on fatherhood were, “Being a father is one of the most beautiful feelings in the universe. As I gazed down at my precious bundle of joy. I realized that I have never been happier.” He added, “With my wife recovering from C-Section,I had to step up and contribute more at home. I thanked my stars that we live in Norway because here we get 46 weeks of paternity leave at full salary.”
Having around 10 months of paternity leave was a blessing for my brother’s family. However, up until last year parents in India didn’t have the same privileges. The Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017 is aiming to change the current state of affairs by benefiting more than 32 crore men in the private sector.
The New Paternity Bill Proposed in India
2017 has been an important year in the history of progressive Indian in terms of recognizing paternity requirements. A Paternity Bill was tabled stating that both parents are supposed to shoulder the joint responsibility together. Congress MP, Rajeev Satav has backed the bill. It proposes that all new fathers should get three months of leave. This extends to the unorganized and blue collar workers too.
The corporate world has recognized the need for paternity leave a long time ago. Companies like Ikea offer 6 months of parental leave. Conventional companies like Cummins have also extended paternity leave to a month. Mercer India has studied the pattern of paternity leave in Indian companies and has found the refreshing trend to be on the rise. In fact, there is a bonus and paternity leave for adoptive parents too. After all, a baby is a baby, whether it has your genes or not.
Rakesh a new father of baby boy admitted, “It is a boon that we live in the modern world, where there’s recognition that fathers too need the time to acclimatize and welcome the baby home. Even the government has woken up to the fact that it is the moral duty of the father to be by his wife and child when there is a major life event. I appreciate the new developments both in the government and private sector across.”
Paternity Leave Across the Globe
There are many countries that offer paid paternity leave as a state mandate. The USA is not one of them. In the States, it is not a federal law but most companies are generous in meting out parental leave. The various companies especially the newer startups offer very smart options.
Countries like Finland, offer several weeks of prenatal as well as postnatal leave mandated by the government. After the child is five, they also can ask for childcare leave. This policy makes for happy and healthy families.
It is a good time to be a working dad in Europe at this time. You are entitled to paid leave at the birth of your child and as they grow up too. The EU countries that the rest of the world should emulate are Finland with 45 days, Sweden and UK with 10 days and France with 11 mandatory paternity leaves. There is more sanctioned by the companies according to the salary and grade of the employee.
Being a DAD in the Paternity Leave Age
The joint family era has faded away to the point of no return. Without the support system of extended families, paternity leave becomes all the more important not just for the parents, but also for the children, corporations, and community alike.
For my sister Sakshi Bhatia, having husband Puneet Bhatia around for 3 months after their daughter Akriti was born, came as a big relief. “The whole dynamic of our marriage has changed as a couple and as new parents. We are a nuclear family and having Puneet around helped more than I had expected.”
In another instance, a friend who works in Google recently had a baby and is ecstatic that he has a month of paternal leave. He could attend the delivery and hold the baby at birth. He can now support his wife in the most beautiful but also stressful period in their lives. The child-rearing job is the toughest in the world and the most demanding. It is a great initiative to let the dads also participate in this life event.
My friend is grateful to his employers for allowing him the break and is resolved to be loyal to them forever. He is ready to give more than his best and is actually quite protective about his company’s interests. After all, the company looked after his interests too!
Featured Image Source: Flickr