Diageo India has announced a 26-week paid leave to white-collar employees of all genders and sexual orientations entering parenthood through biological conception, surrogacy or adoption to improve gender equality, diversity and inclusion at the workplace.
Earlier, the alcohol beverage company offered 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, as per government rules, and four weeks of paternity leave for biological conception, surrogacy and adoption. The 'Family Leave Policy' will make Diageo India a part of a small pool of companies in India such as Zomato and MNCs Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Novartis which offer 26 weeks of paid paternity leave.
New fathers/second parents can avail of the leave, which comprises all benefits and bonuses, anytime within 12 months of the birth or adoption of the child, effective July 30, 2021. It impacts Diageo India's 1,600-strong white-collar workforce. It does not apply to those working on the factory shop floors.
Diageo India said it encourages every employee to focus equally on the joy of raising a new family. Through the policy, it intends to challenge conventional norms of the mother being the primary caregiver, and enable the mother to better manage her career and other priorities.
"The policy has two pieces to it. It says that as a father you play an equal role in bringing up the child and sharing the load with the mother. The second is appreciating that people who identify themselves as LGBTQ may also want to go down the path of parenthood," Chief Human Resources Officer Aarif Aziz told Business Today.
The Indian government amended the Maternity Benefit Act in 2017, making it compulsory for most employers to offer 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and have a crèche facility. There is no law for paternity leave in the country at present, though a Paternity Benefit Bill offering at least 15 days of paternity leave that could be extended to three months was proposed.
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