In another bold step towards revamping its parental leave policy, Accenture India has extended its adoption leave policies to 22 weeks of paid sabbatical from the current eight weeks, thus making it one of the first companies in India to equate adoption and surrogacy leave to maternity leave practices.
The new policy means that all types of new mothers—whether biological or adoptive ones, will now be treated equally. Applicable with immediate effect, all new mothers, (part-time or full-time), the policy will offer 22 weeks (5 months) of paid leave which is significantly more than the present statutory requirement of three months.
The overall adoption and surrogacy leave benefits of will also include three months of unpaid leaves, to cater to the new demands of the new member in the family. They will also be given access to several resources such as discounted childcare services, interactive parenting workshops, employee assistance programmes, and pre- and post-maternity counselling sessions.
Parag Pande, HR lead for India and global lead for learning and talent development operations at Accenture, said that as an organization Accenture aims at becoming the most inclusive and diverse in nature.
Last year the company extended its maternal leave policies to five months that helped in the retention of women employees to a great extent. This year, they have continued similar policies to adoption and surrogacy leave accomplishments as well—therefore attaching another feather to their parental leave policies.
“The first few months is crucial for child nurturing and to bond with the child. It is not just in case of maternity but also in the event of surrogacy and adoption. Hence we decided to extend the benefits”, Pande was quoted saying.
He also stated that this is an attempt to send out a message to all female employees that the organization cares about them concerned at such a crucial moment in their lives; and also ensure that senior high-potential women employees continue to work with the organization post- childbirth.
Regarding the policy, Saundarya Rajesh, founder and president of Avtar Career Creators & FLEXI Careers India, who works in the area of re-engaging second career women, commented that with the advent of surrogacy and adoption leave, Accenture has announced that it affirms and embraces the personal claims of the joy of an individual. It is not cutting you out because you have decided to become a mother in a way that is not the majority norm.
In August 2016, the Rajya Sabha passed amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act that aims to provide 26 weeks of maternity leave to working women and 12 weeks to commissioning mothers and introducing a provision of “work from home” for nursing mothers. However, the Bill is still pending in the Lok Sabha.
Among a handful of companies that have extended leave for adoption is Procter & Gamble, which earlier this year introduced a policy to allow employees paid leave of six months on adopting a child.
Source: Economic Times