The move comes ahead of the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha later this year.
In line with the proposed amendment in the Maternity Benefits Bill, Jabong, online fashion etailer, has announced six months of maternity leave for its women employees. The initiative is a part of the company’s endeavour to enable a conducive working environment for young expectant mothers and also reinforce its brand promise to represent the needs of its women customers.
The move comes ahead of the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha in the upcoming winter session. The Bill will impact an estimated 1.8 million women working in India’s organised sector, and is expected to encourage many more to join the corporate sector.
Talking about the decision, Deepa Chadha, CHRO-Jabong says, “Women represent 30 per cent of Jabong’s workforce and 60 per cent of our revenue. We believe that making our culture more inclusive is an economic imperative for the success of our organisation and the country. Known for its ‘Be You’ philosophy, Jabong has always aspired to be an opinion leader, and our leadership team decided that we should proactively adopt a longer maternity leave for our women colleagues, and address a genuine concern for them.”
“If you have done some interesting activity in the space of employee engagement, learning and development, employee referral, please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
A recent study undertaken by Jody Heymann, founding director of the World Policy Analysis Centre, suggests that women who don’t receive paid maternity leave are more likely to drop out of the workforce, therefore losing income for themselves and their families. The number of women drops sharply in the corporate hierarchy – from 25 per cent at the entry level positions to 16 per cent at the middle management and only 4 per cent at the senior management level.
Inability to provide an enabling work environment for young mothers is undoubtedly one of the major root causes. Countries can either work with half of their workforce or compete with their full workforce, which requires paid maternity leave.
“I fully agree with UN Women’s representative, Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, that having a more generous maternity leave and flexible timing arrangements will not just be an economic investment but also a measure to ensure social justice. McKinsey estimates India’s women to constitute only 24 per cent of the paid labour force compared to the global average of 40 per cent. The corporate world must find innovative means to encourage women to join the workforce and contribute to the nation’s progress,” adds Chadha.
Jabong already runs several women-friendly programmes, such as SHE which offers an in-house crèche, flexi-timings, work-from-home, and so on. In line with its philosophy of ‘Be You’, the company also provides its women employees the freedom to be what they want to be, and to speak their mind.