Women's Day 2018: How firms support employees through parenthood journey
March 8 is International Womenâ€™s Day, a date designated by the UN to celebrate and advocate for womenâ€™s rights and gender equality. In the year of #MeToo and Timeâ€™s Up, it is clear that the original aim of this day has still not been realised. Women are struggling to close the equality gap, more significantly, in the corporate world. Motherhood is a period when many women decide to stop working. New mothers sometimes find it difficult to adjust to their dual roles.Many companies have now decided to support employees throughout the parenthood journey - this, in turn, ensures
that fellow women have a better experience at the workplace.Woes of working women Often working mothers suffer from the guilt and social stigma of being too selfish since they cannot be with their children throughout the day. In India, the forces that make them feel so are at work even before a child is born.Moreover, couples who are both working hard to earn a livelihood in the 24/7 corporate work culture in India are shamed for being â€œabsent parentsâ€?. Towards brighter days Companies like Ikea, Viacom18, Ericsson are now going the extra mile to provide benefits such as counselling for weight and fitness, extended maternity leave, transportation facilities, leave for elder care and bereavement, etc. Flexibility for employees Viacom18 provides 36 weeks of maternity leave, 30 days of paternity leave and leaves for medical check-ups during pregnancy. The firm has a flexible working option for 12 weeks post maternity leave and day-care facility and allowances.To strengthen the employee-company relationship, Viacom18 offers birthday, marriage, empathy and compassionate leave - and pet allowance.Swedish retailer IKEA also introduced a progressive parental policy last year. Ikea male and female parent can take six months maternity leave.It is also planning to offer creche facility in its new stores.At Ericsson, women employees can now request for an extended leave of two months beyond the 26week maternity leave. Employees also have a flexible working policy, under which they can opt for a different work schedule for a period of not more than three months in a year. These gestures are an effort to build better employer brands and distinctive employee value propositions.Why Maternity rules are so important Last year, the Indian government passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 , through which about 1.8 million women could benefit. The measure took India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave after Canada and Norway Norway where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks, respectively.However, going by the uniform definition of workers in the 2011 census, the female work participation rate in the organised urban sector is abysmal. It stands at a mere 15.44 per cent - this is the sector that is covered under the Maternity Bill.A report by the Indian Women's Network of the Confederation of Indian Industry said that an about 37 per cent of working women in India opted out of their jobs mid-career owing to maternity or childcare issues. Social media, blogs are extensive with accounts of mothers who had held lucrative positions in private companies and were forced to leave due to unsupportive human resource departments.
Article source- BUSINESS STANDARD.
Published on Mar 8, 2018
Published on Mar 8, 2018
Women's Day 2018: How firms support employees through parenthood journey Companies now deciding to support employees throughout the parentho...