While it is usual for mothers to take a maternity leave right after delivery, paternity leave is a fairly modern concept and is still evolving.
Paternity leave may essentially be defined as a brief sabbatical from work, undertaken by the father right after the birth of his child so as to support the mother and take care of the newborn.
Paternity leave is soon being realized as quintessential to childbirth.
Here are some great benefits of paternity leave:
It is interesting to note that fathers who take a greater interest in child care are the ones who learn more about their children. Spending quality time often enhances their relationship with their child which is imperative for the nourishment of a happy father-child relation.
A healthy interaction between the father and the child at a young age results in an effective learning capacity apart from improving the overall performance of the child.
When the duty of childcare falls on the mother solely, she suffers considerably with respect to her job and wages. However, this shortfall is covered when men step into the scene and contribute their bit.
Here is a look at a few countries and their stance on paternal leave policies:
Sweden is quite generous with respect to paternal leaves. It pays adequate attention to the social needs of its citizens.
While parents are offered a total of 480 days of paid leave, 90 of those days are exclusively reserved for the father. Parents are paid 80 per cent of their salary during such leave periods. Paternity leave ensures that fathers get enough time to help their spouses.
As per Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, Central Government employees (males) are entitled to a paternity leave of 15 days within 6 months from the date of the child's delivery, provided the employee has less than two surviving children. In case of more than two surviving children, the employee is entitled to no paternity leave. However, there are no such rules in this regard for employees in the private sector and the paternity leave policy varies from company to company.
The Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017 is a noteworthy step towards paternity leave. This bill specifically aims to enhance the period of leave for fathers working in both, the private as well as the public sector, up to three months. If passed, the legislation could be a game changer in the field of parenting.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act permits eligible employees for an unpaid paternity leave of 12 weeks.
Interestingly, different states have varied sets of laws pertaining to paternity leave in the USA, with most state laws being exponents of unpaid leave.
However, lack of pay during leave and tough eligibility rules such as working hours per day and total hours worked within a specific year among others are major reasons for most fathers not availing this benefit.
Given its inherent benefits, the concept of paternity leave deserves both, appreciation and encouragement. Talking specifically in the Indian context, the Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017, if passed, can be a revolutionary step towards changing the parenting pattern.
Generally speaking, more and more countries need to focus on how to give fathers enough freedom so they can devote their time towards their family, especially infants.