Recently during the Women in the World conference, when American TV host Norah O’ Donnell talked about the safety issue in our country, Indian journalist Barkha Dutt mentioned how companies in India are required to give 12 weeks off as maternal leave; a luxury most women in the U.S. don’t have. Giving her argument more weightage, Accenture, a multinational management and consulting services company, has extended this leave to 22 weeks.
Effective since 1st of May this year, the policy gives these benefits to both its full-time and part-time women employees in India, along with the option of taking an additional four weeks of paid leave if there is an illness directly related to the mother’s pregnancy. Accenture is one of the first companies in the country to have introduced and offered these benefits.
According to a report by The Hindu, Parag Pande, Accenture’s Human Resource lead for India and global lead for Learning and Talent Development Operations, said: “There is an increasing number of families in India in which both parents have hectic schedules — balancing work and family commitments — while simultaneously caring for children and continuing to advance professionally, which can result in some women discontinuing their careers.”
This is a huge issue, not just in India but everywhere in the world and benefits like these, as Sheryl Sandberg points out, will immensely help new mothers to transition into motherhood without hurting their careers. But sadly, most IT companies in India including giants like Infosys, HCL and Microsoft, give only 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. We hope this step proves to be an inspiration to many more companies in the country.
[Feature Picture Courtesy: Naree.com]
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