Even before the Swedish furniture giant IKEA opens its doors to customers later this year in Hyderabad and in Mumbai next year, it has grabbed eyeballs by its unique paternal leave policy for India. The recently announced policy holds that both men and women will be able to avail six months' leave on a child’s birth alongside other benefits. The policy will also apply to parents who have children through adoption or surrogacy.
In addition to this, mothers will be able to work half days for 16 weeks on their return. Women will also be granted one month leave with full pay and benefits in case of illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery, or premature birth of a child.
Anna-Carin Månsson, Country HR Manager, IKEA India, said: “I am delighted to share this piece of news with all our co-workers in India who have been working towards building the IKEA brand in India. For us, the co-workers are no less than a family and it becomes imperative for us to help them through an important phase like this of their lives. We remain committed to empowering our co-workers at the workplace and ensure equal opportunities.”
A few days before IKEA announced this policy, the Indian Parliament passed a bill to raise the maternity leave to 26 weeks. The bill will benefit about 1.8 million women. The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people but the catch is that the entitlement, will only be applicable for the first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be for only 12 weeks.
In the recent years, we have seen many companies change their maternity leave policies. In 2015, Flipkart had announced that it would give expectant mothers 24 weeks leave and other benefits. This was followed by many other companies like Mondelez India Foods, formerly Cadbury India, Mumbai-based real estate developer K Raheja Corp, app-based fashion retailer Myntra who restructured their parent policies with many innovative additions. The same year, Accenture India increased its maternity leave benefits to 22 weeks of paid leave (five months) from 12 weeks for its full-time and part-time employees. Other companies that have six months maternity leave policies include Godrej, HCL Technologies, and Hindustan Unilever (HUL).
Those lagging behind are SAP Labs India, and Google at 20 weeks of paid maternity leave.
However, no one can beat Netflix. The company allows employees to take unlimited maternity or paternity leave during the first year after their child's birth or adoption.