You won’t hear the term “paternity leave” much in India. Although some government employees do get paternity leave, there is no universal paternity leave law in our country. It’s high time that we start to recognize that the role of the father is equally as important as the mother. And it’s integral to know the importance of paternity leave since it’s beneficial to the health of the family. To understand this subject better, let us look closer at why more new dads or first-time dads should consider paternity leave.
It Helps Mothers To Remain In The Workforce
Giving birth to a baby is no walk in the park. In addition to taking care of the newborn, the mother opts for maternity leave to take time to heal as well. With The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 in place, mothers have the freedom to choose up to 26 weeks of maternity leave, which is a good thing. But, these bills seem frivolous since they don’t have paternity leave to supplement them. Research conducted by Genpact’s Centre For Women’s Leadership reports that 48% of women drop out of the workforce within 4 months of returning from maternity leave. Also, 50% of women under 30 leave their jobs to dedicate more attention to their children.
Unfortunately, the numbers will keep on increasing if fathers don’t get the freedom to opt for paternity leave. Mothers require the same amount of care and attention the baby deserves. They cannot handle the responsibility of changing diapers, cleaning vomit-stained linens, and doing other household chores all alone. With the father being present, the workload can be shared easily, which allows the mother to focus on her career as well. There is less risk of burnout. This helps new mothers to stay in the workforce and contribute financially to the family.
Fathers Have The Opportunity To Bond With Their Children
A child’s formative years are the most crucial. It is within this period they learn at a faster rate, in turn shaping cognitive, social, and emotional abilities. Also, this is a time where the child explores its surroundings through stories, toys, songs, and books, and fathers can use this time to develop strong emotional bonds. When fathers miss out on those crucial years, they can be distant for life. A father who takes paternity leave is more involved with taking care of the family and has time to have fun with his children.
Also, a study suggests that men involved in caretaking tasks during their child’s early stages had better mental health. This again solidifies the case of having mandatory paternity leave, which would allow the father to dedicate the time and resources to care for his newborn.
The Positive Impact On The Child’s Health
Apart from establishing bonds, paternity leave has benefits on your child’s mental health later in life too. Fathers who took paternity leave have seen their kids do well in school. The increased involvement in their new babies’ lives leads to the dads being more involved in childcare activities, benefitting the kids in the long run.
You don’t want to compromise when it comes to your child’s health. With fathers being in the mix of taking care of the baby, there is an added pair of hands. Due to that, better attention can be given to the child’s needs, whether it’s sleep or diet, resulting in making the baby healthier and happier. Effective parental (gender-neutral) leave also reduces child mortality, providing a stronger argument to implement effective paternity leave policies.
Strengthens Relationships With The Partner
The benefits and importance of paternity leave extend to improving relationships with the partner. Of course, the father can help to complete household chores or anything else that needs to be done around the house. But, it goes beyond just dividing tasks. He is able to provide the right amount of emotional support that the wife requires especially during the first few months of the child’s birth. This support system strengthens bonds and ensures marriage stability since his presence and involvement symbolize that he is all-hands-on-deck as well.
Also, a father’s increased involvement in taking care of the baby helped alleviate some portion of maternal postpartum depression. Research has shown that maternal postpartum depression is deeply associated with a lack of paternal involvement.
Provision Of Paternity Leave In India
As said before, there is no universal paternity law in India. Only central government employees can avail of 15 days of paid paternity leave either before or within 6 months from the date of delivery of the child. Under the private sector, there are no rules set by the government. This means private businesses can set the time period according to their convenience.
There was an attempt to introduce the Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017, which allowed the unorganized and private sector 15 days paternity leave. If needed, the person could extend the time frame to a period of 3 months. Due to certain reasons, the bill wasn’t put into motion though.
Private Companies And Their Paternity Leave Time Frames
|Sas India||2 weeks|
|Inter Globe Enterprises||5 days (to be availed within 30 days of childbirth )|
|TVS Motors||6 days ( can be availed before or after childbirth|
We’re pretty sure you must’ve understood the importance of paternity leave through our article. A father’s involvement is just as important as the mother’s and it’s necessary for society to recognize this. Only then can proper laws and policies be drafted in favor of paternity leave. If you happen to be on paternity leave and need a faster way to book doctor’s appointments for your child, try our ImmunifyMe app. You can video call pediatricians, and also digitally store your child’s health and vaccination records. You can also track your child’s growth and have a customized nutritional plan by our team of professional nutritionists.
FAQs On The Importance Of Paternity Leave
What Exactly Is Paternity Leave?
Paternity leave is the time period in which a new father gets to stay home to care for his newborn. The time frame is usually set by the government or the company and can extend from a few days to weeks, or even months under special cases.
Why Is Paternity Leave Important?
Paternity leave helps new mothers with childcare and later enables them to re-enter and remain in the workforce. It helps to strengthen the bond between the father and his new baby, and this in turn positively benefits the child’s physical, emotional and mental health. Lastly, it strengthens the bond between the two new parents.
How Does Paternity Leave Benefit The Mother?
With fathers being present and involved in taking care of the child, mothers can take time to focus on their career or even get some rest post-delivery. It also alleviates some parts of maternal postpartum depression since the father is around to provide emotional support.