Want to talk about Gender Equality. Make it truly equal and not in the interest of just women. Here’s a progressive step taken by social commerce platform Meesho on Thursday, as they announced a 30-week gender-neutral parental leave policy. The announcement was made as a part of the organisation’s efforts in rolling out inclusive policies for its employees.
The policy has been designed with an outlook to provide fulfilling employee experiences, cognizant of the efforts in caregiving and growing a family, Meesho said in a statement to Economic Times.
Parental Leave Policy
Meesho has about 1,000 employees and the new policies reflect evolving societal beliefs and ensure non-discriminatory benefits irrespective of employees’ gender or sexual identity, it added. In its official statement, the company said,
The 30-week leave policy applies equally to women, men, heterogenous or same-sex couples so they can stay present for their children and also does away with the differentiation between natural childbirth, adoption, and surrogacy.
The parental leave policy ensures non-discrimination irrespective of gender, sexual identity, marital status, or the circumstance of parenthood, and also covers live-in partners, the statement noted.
If the employee is a secondary caregiver, they can avail up to 30 days of leave (applicable up to one year from adoption or childbirth), it added.
Meesho Chief HR Officer Ashish Kumar Singh said,
We are really excited about the future – because we are looking at the Policy not as a document alone but as a powerful resource that Meeshoites can tap into for help, assistance, and empathy as they navigate their careers and lives.
Most significantly, we have used this policy revamp to simplify the benefits and flexibility based on the caregiver’s role, rather than gender so Meeshoites can be entirely present for their family.
Meesho – which has raised funding from SoftBank, Prosus Ventures and Facebook, among others – said if the employee is a primary caregiver, they are eligible for leaves up to one year – 30 weeks fully paid leave and 25 per cent pay for the next three months.
One must be reminded that in August 2016, as the clamour for enhanced paternity leave grew stronger after the passing of the maternity leave bill in Rajya Sabha, then Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had said that such a legislation will have little impact in India, where Men do not even avail their existing leave entitlements to share the responsibility of child care.
Speaking to The Indian Express five years ago, Maneka said,
Paternity leave can be considered only if, once the woman goes back to work after her 26 weeks of leave, we find that men are availing their sick leave for a month to take care of the child. Let me see how many men do that. I will be happy to give it but for a man, it will be just a holiday, he won’t do anything.
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