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The Need For Paternity Leave Laws In India, Emphasized Through A Comparative Analysis With Other Countries

"Some dads liken the impending birth of a child to the beginning of a great journey." -- Marcus Jacob Goldman

A sort of leave provided to fathers after the birth or adoption of a child is known as paternity leave. The demand for paternity leave stems from the notion that dads should have the chance to connect with and take care of their newborn kid since both parents are crucial to a child's care and development. Fathers may connect with their children, assist with baby care, and support the mother throughout the postpartum period while on paternity leave.

The purpose of paternity leave is to encourage fathers' engagement in childcare and parenting while also offering them the chance to develop a close relationship with their kid during this critical period of the child's life.

Paternity leave after a child's birth is not as common in India as it is in some other nations.

In India, paternity leave is frowned upon for a number of reasons, including:
  • Cultural norms:
    According to conventional gender roles, a man's job in India is to provide for the family financially, while a woman's job is to serve as the main caretaker. The assumption that dads don't need to take time out of work to care for their newborn kid has been influenced by this traditional mindset.
  • Lack of knowledge:
    It's possible that many Indian companies and organisations are unaware of the advantages of paternity leave for dads and their families. As a consequence, they may not consider it necessary to provide their workers paternity leave.
  • Lack of policies:
    Paternity leave is solely offered to government workers, unlike maternity leave, which is a legally required benefit for women in India. Private employers are thus not compelled to provide paternity leave, and many can choose not to.
  • Stigma:
    Fathers who take time off from work to care for their newborn kid may be seen as less devoted to their jobs or less masculine in certain companies and communities.

Paternity leave laws are more common in first-world nations than in third-world ones, according to my research, as we shall see below. In comparison to developing nations, developed nations often have more generous parental leave regulations, including paternity leave.

Parental leave is required by law in many first-world nations; the amount paid might vary depending on the nation and the policies in place. Contrarily, many third-world nations may not have any paternity leave laws at all, or the laws that do exist may be weak and only apply to specific types of employees.

Complex issues including economic growth, labour market arrangements, legislative agendas, and cultural perceptions of the role of fathers in childcare are among the causes of this difference. In recent years, certain third-world nations have begun to introduce or broaden parental leave laws, including paternity leave, since there is increasing acknowledgment of the significance of paternity leave in advancing gender equality and improving the health and wellness of families. Paternity leave laws are more common in first-world nations than in third-world nations for a variety of complicated and varied reasons.

The following are some of the major causes of this variation:
  • Economic progress:
    First-world nations often experience more economic progress than third-world nations, which may have an influence on the accessibility of social welfare programmes like paid maternity leave. Developing nations often have more money to dedicate to supporting working families with programmes like paid parental leave.
  • Gender equality:
    First-world nations often have more liberal views on gender equality and the contribution of dads to child care. Traditional gender norms are still entrenched in many third-world nations, and males may face cultural obstacles when they decide to take time off of work to care for their new baby.
  • Policy priorities:
    Government goals may sometimes take precedent over family-friendly measures like parental leave in many third-world nations, including reducing poverty, advancing education, and improving healthcare.
  • Structure of the labour market:
    In third-world nations, the labour market is often characterised by ad hoc and unstable employment arrangements, which makes it more challenging to implement parental leave laws and regulations. First-world nations, in contrast, often have more formalised labour market arrangements and higher worker legal rights.
  • International pressure:
    First-world nations are often the target of international inspection and pressure to adhere to labour and human rights norms, which may include parental leave legislation. Third-world nations could see less strain in this area.

Thus, In order to find opportunities for improvement in Indian laws, the purpose of this research study is to examine and contrast the current paternity leave legislation in India with those in first-world nations. The legal requirements for paternity leave, the duration of the leave, and ultimately the amount of pay or benefits granted during the absence will be the main topics of the paper. The research's conclusions will be used to drive policy suggestions for enhancing India's paternity leave regulations and encouraging fathers to participate more in childcare and parenting.

Core Challenges Present

I have identified the following as the core challenges with relation to my topic:
  • Lack of awareness:
    One of the biggest challenges in advocating for paternity leave laws in India is the lack of awareness among the general public about the importance of paternity leave for fathers and the benefits of having such laws in place. This can make it difficult to generate support for the cause and persuade lawmakers to take action.
  • Resistance from employers:
    Employers may be resistant to the idea of providing paternity leave to their employees due to concerns about productivity, the cost of providing leave, and potential disruptions to business operations. This can create a significant obstacle to the implementation of paternity leave laws.
  • Socio-cultural factors:
    Societal norms and cultural expectations regarding gender roles and parenting can also be a significant challenge in advocating for paternity leave laws in India. Many traditional gender roles assume that men are the primary breadwinners and that women are the primary caregivers. This can make it difficult to challenge these assumptions and promote the idea that fathers should have the same rights and responsibilities as mothers when it comes to caring for their children.
  • Legal and policy frameworks:
    Another challenge is the lack of legal and policy frameworks that support paternity leave in India. In many cases, the absence of a legal mandate means that employers are not required to provide paternity leave, and fathers may have to rely on their employer's discretion or negotiate leave on an ad hoc basis.

Paternity Leave Law In India

In India, unfortunately, paternity leave is only legally granted for government employees, leaving men working in the private sector at the mercy of their employer's good will.

In India, As per the provisions of Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A), 1972, the applicable rules for paternity leave include:
  • A male employee who has less than two children may take paternity leave for a period of 15 days, commencing 15 days before the kid is born and lasting up to 6 months after
  • If paternity leave is not used within the allotted time, it will be considered to have lapsed.
  • An employee on paternity leave is entitled to receive their leave salary, which is equivalent to the compensation received just before to commencing their leave. The paternity leave may be combined with any other kind of leave.
  • An employer cannot in any way refuse a request for paternity leave;
  • The paternity leave is independent and cannot be subtracted from the leave account.
Identical requirements of paternity leaves apply to the adoption of a child under the age of one year.

Paternity Leave Law In Lithuania

In Lithuania, the Lithuanian law that provides for paternity leave benefits is the Law on State Social Insurance. Specifically, the relevant provision can be found in Article 10(1)(10) of the Law.

A newborn's father is entitled to a paternity leave that lasts for an uninterrupted 30 days. Fathers may take such time off at any time up until the child becomes 12 months old. It is sufficient to demonstrate the biological connection�that the infant is the newborn's father�in order to be granted this leave regardless of whether the partners are married or not.

A document attesting to the birth of the child should be given by the employee who desires to take paternity leave to his employer. One may obtain paternity benefits while on paternity leave. If the father has a history of making social security contributions for at least 12 of the preceding 24 months, up to the start of the paternity leave, the benefit is paid.

Up until the infant is one month old, the father receives paternity benefits. The paternity benefit is equivalent to 77.58% of the recipient's compensation in wages. The smallest paternity benefit is limited to EUR 276. (before taxes). EUR 2460,84 is the maximum paternity benefit (before taxes). The difference between your salary and the paternity allowance will be paid to you if you get any extra income while on paternity leave.

Paternity Leave Law In Japan

The Act on Childcare Leave and Caregiver Leave governs the legal mechanism for paternity leave in Japan. On October 1, 2022, a new paternity leave took the place of the fathers' current childcare leave ("Papa Kyuka").

The following legal provisions regarding paternity leave are included:
  • Duration and frequency of leaves: up to four weeks during an eight-week window after the baby's birth
  • Application deadline: Ideally, two weeks before the departure
  • The division of the leave: You may divide the leaves into two halves. (There is a deadline for submitting the application for the two sections.)
  • Work during leave: Work while leave is possible within the agreed-upon parameters. There must be a labor-management agreement.

Paternity Leave Law In Sweden

Parental benefit (f�r�ldrapenning) is a benefit available to Swedes so they may stay at home with their children rather than working, seeking for job, or studying.

In Sweden, both parents are entitled to take a total of 480 days of leave with partial pay to care for their child. The Swedish culture promotes family values and encourages parents to divide the leave days between them. The parental leave pay is flexible and is based on different tiers, with the initial payment set at 80% of the employee's regular salary, given by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (F�rs�kringskassan).

To explain in depth, The 480 days that parents split are divided into 390 days that qualify for sickness benefits and 90 days that are at the minimal level. Swedes have the option of working seven days a week or taking full or half days at various levels. Their qualifying income for sickness benefits and how they use their days will determine how much in benefits they get.

The 480-day Parental Benefit is divided between the parents as they see appropriate, with each parent receiving 240 days. Only once the kid has used 180 qualifying days for sickness benefits may they begin taking the daily minimum dose (SEK 180). Also, you may give the other parent up to 150 days. Yet, each parent is only allowed 90 days to qualify for a sickness benefit.

Both parents have the option to use the parental leave benefit for a combined total of no more than 30 days during the first year of the child's life (referred to as "double days"). Prior to the child's fourth birthday, 384 days of parental benefit must be used. The remaining 96 days may be set aside and used, at the latest, up until the kid reaches 12 or completes the fifth grade. For kids who were born or adopted before to January 1, 2014, certain of the earlier regulations may still be relevant in specific circumstances.

Paternity Leave Law In Canada

The Employment Insurance (EI) programme in Canada, which is run by the government's Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) department, includes provisions for paternity leave. Because any parent may use the leave, it is often referred to as "parental leave" or "parental benefits." Section 206.1 of Part III of the Canada Labour Code (Code) covers Parental leave:

Parents who fall under federal jurisdiction and desire to take parental leave have the most freedom according to Division VII. The Code establishes each parent's eligibility for leave and the duration of such leave.

Parental leave eligibility:
Eligibility of one parent is determined independently from the eligibility of the other parent and relies on whether the employee now has or will soon have physical custody of the kid and if the employer received the required notice.

Time of leave:
Up to 63 weeks of parental leave may be available to one employee. This leave must be used during the first 78 weeks after the child's birth or placement in the employee's care.

Nevertheless, in accordance with Section 206.1(3) of the Code, if both parents take parental leave for their newborn or adopted kid, they must make sure that the total length of their leaves combined does not exceed 71 weeks. Nonetheless, the absences must be taken within the 78 weeks after the kid's birth or the employee's adoption of the child. This does not exclude parents from deciding when to take parental leave.

Due to business policy, provisions in their employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements, or both, employees may be granted more parental leave.

Maternity and Parental Leave:
Maternity leave may last up to 17 weeks under the Code. When the parental leave is not shared, the combined length of the maternity and parental leaves cannot, however, exceed 78 weeks. When the parental leave is split, the combined length of the parental and maternity absences cannot exceed 86 weeks.

Analysis, Conclusion And Suggestion
When compared to other countries like Lithuania, Canada, Japan, and Sweden, India lacks paternity leave laws that are essential for new fathers to balance their work and family responsibilities. Western and developed countries provide special paternity leave laws and institutions, laws that split the childcare time between parents, and adequate monetary benefits given by the state. In contrast, India does not have such laws, making it challenging for fathers to support their newborn child and family.

As a result, it is clear to see that paternity leave regulations in many Western or developed nations provide new fathers more extensive assistance than what is presently offered in India. In general, paternity leave is more likely to be paid in the West and may extend for a number of weeks or even months, however in India there is only a government paternity leave policy, which itself is inadequate, and private businesses may not give paid paternity leave.

Families that desire to take time off to care for a baby may experience financial strain as a result. In contrast to India, where fathers who take time from work to care for a baby may suffer social shame or job discrimination, paternity leave is often more commonly accessible and culturally acceptable in the West.

For a number of reasons, according to me, India needs stronger paternity leave regulations.

Firstly, stronger paternity leave laws might encourage men to participate more actively in home duties and child raising, thereby advancing gender equality. Women in India shoulder a disproportionate amount of the responsibility for childcare and household duties, which may have an adverse effect on their ability to succeed in the workplace. By granting fathers paternity leave, it may be possible to change societal perceptions of childcare and household chores, making it more acceptable for males to shoulder more of these duties.

Second, paternity leave may encourage stronger bonds between fathers and their kids. According to research[1], fathers who take paternity leave are more likely to be active in their children's life, which may have a favourable effect on the development and wellbeing of the kid. Paternity leave may aid in fostering healthier connections between fathers and their kids in India, where fathers may have little free time to spend with their kids owing to lengthy work hours and other obligations.

Better paternity leave regulations may also assist to alleviate the financial strain that might accompany a child's birth. The financial burden on families may be lessened and it will be easier for fathers to take time off work to care for a baby if fathers are given paid leave.

In general, improving paternity leave laws in India may serve to advance gender equality, strengthen fathers' bonds with their offspring, and lessen financial strain on households.

By taking into account the best practises of Western or developed countries that have put into place successful and efficient paternity leave policies, India may build better paternity leave regulations. I suggest few ideas:
  • Making a broadly applicable paternity legislation: India can guarantee that all fathers have access to this crucial benefit, regardless of their job position or the size of their company, by creating a paternity leave law that is applicable to both the public and private sectors. This may enhance the development of children and encourage more fair family connections. All companies will be compelled to provide this benefit, which may serve to foster a more competitive and equitable labour market and level the playing field for businesses.
  • Give fathers more options for how to take paternity leave: After creating a law as mentioned above, India should think about giving fathers more choices for how to take paternity leave, such as allowing them to take it in smaller chunks over a longer period of time or giving them the option to take it sporadically.
  • Offer paid paternity leave: Several Western nations allow fathers to take time off work without losing their income by offering paid paternity leave. To encourage more fathers to take paternity leave, India may want to establish a similar scheme.
  • Incentives: In order to encourage more fathers to take paternity leave, India may want to think about providing incentives like tax exemptions or other financial prizes to businesses who provide paternity leave to their staff
  • Embrace paternity leave as a cultural norm: India may seek to promote paternity leave as a cultural norm, much as Sweden has done. This could include advocating for paternity leave and publicising its advantages via campaigning, education, and public awareness initiatives.
India may improve its paternity leave laws to assist fathers in their parental caregiving responsibilities and to advance a more egalitarian and family-friendly workplace culture by adopting some of these practises and regulations.


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