The modified maternity policy will not just support childbirth but also surrogacy and adoption
The winds of change are making a lot of organisations realise the benefits of having women-friendly workplaces. Be it for balancing the male–female ratio in the workforce or for retaining talented women, companies are now accepting the fact that workplaces also need to support women in maternity and child care. That is why, recently various companies including Tata Sons, Flipkart, Airtel, Accenture and Godrej changed their policies to retain more women employees and to boost their gender diversity.
Going with the trend and beyond, Sony Pictures Networks recently tweaked its maternity policy to support not only the event of childbirth but also cases of surrogacy and adoption. SPN’s women employees can now avail a paid maternity leave of six months instead of the earlier 12 weeks. This leave can be taken from up to six weeks before the delivery date. In the other cases, it will start from the date of adoption or the date of surrogate delivery.
In addition to the extended leave, the company has also taken care to make expectant and returning mothers comfortable at work. Self-driving expectant moms are allotted priority parking at office locations in Mumbai, Gurgaon and Bengaluru. Another major issue that most breastfeeding mothers face while returning to work, post childbirth, is managing feeds for their babies. Providing a solution, SPN has created a special ‘Mother’s Room’ where new mothers can pump and store milk for their babies, while at work. This room has a refrigerator and all other necessary amenities to maintain hygiene.
SPN’s ratio of female employees to the overall employee population was at 32.2 per cent during the last fiscal year (2015- 16).
NP Singh, CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India, in an official statement said, “Women form an integral part of our workforce. Our policies are geared towards encouraging women at SPN to develop their careers and essay leadership roles, while playing a key part in supporting their families”.
Although the current Government guidelines regarding maternity policy in India only mandate a three-month paid leave, companies are taking that extra step in the hope of retaining and encouraging more women talent. Data shows that India ranks 123rd in the world in terms of male-female ratio at the workplace. At least 48 per cent of women in India quit their careers midway. Data also revealed that Indian women contribute only 17 per cent to the national GDP as compared to the global average of 37 per cent.
It has been seen that most women quit work after childbirth owing to lack of support from home or the workplace. Therefore, it is a wise move for organisations to alter their maternity leave policies and introduce other initiatives for returning women.