The facility can be availed by new and adoptive fathers in the first year
Organisations are consciously heading towards real gender equality. Breaking unnecessary barriers and misconceptions of a patriarchal society, and giving new fathers the opportunity to enjoy parenthood as much as the mothers in the Indian society, takes some serious effort. In line with its belief that family comes first, and meeting the needs of 21st-century families, Johnson & Johnson India just unveiled its enhanced paternity leave.
The Company’s new global parental leave approach reaffirms its desire to set the agenda for working parents in India and around the world, to help its employees be their best—at work and at home. Under the enhanced paternity leave policy at Johnson & Johnson India, new and adoptive fathers will now be entitled to eight weeks of paid leave during the first year, to bond with the new-born or newly adopted child. For new mothers, the company has already been offering up to 26 weeks of maternity leave for the last six years, well ahead of the industry.
Indrajeet Sengupta, head-human resources, Johnson & Johnson India believes that championing work–life integration is critically important to the future of the Company. More so, because the enhanced benefits help attract millennials and genZs, who are critical to the future workforce of the Company. “By extending parental leave benefits to fathers and adoptive parents, we also strengthen our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and support for the modern-day family—because every family is special,” he says.
Sengupta says that Johnson & Johnson is cognizant of the complexities that a modern family goes through and appreciating the fact that family comes first, it wants its employees to enjoy their role as parents. “We think that leaves which encourage employees to be with their families can benefit organisations. They can be excellent motivational factors, increase workforce retention and promote equality and diversity at workplace,” he says.
In addition, being in the business of care and development of healthy babies, Johnson & Johnson understands how critical it is for both parents to be able to spend quality time with a child during the first year of birth or adoption. Its 125 years of heritage, backed by scientific and safety research, in caring for babies also explains how critical this bonding time is for the well-being of both child and parents.
Ram Shukla, senior director, research & development, Johnson & Johnson India explains that active fatherhood provides the love and support mothers need after birth. “With the exception of breastfeeding, fathers can help relieve the pressure their spouses face by helping to bathe, massage and care for their babies. What’s more, the close relationship between father and child boosts the child’s physical and mental development significantly,” he adds.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that the level of father–infant interaction at age three months is able to predict whether the child will exhibit behavioural problems at the age of one. The effect of the lack of father–infant engagement tends to be stronger for boys than for girls, suggesting that boys are more susceptible to the influence of their father from a very early age.
In another study, lead researcher, Ronald Rohner observed that the influence of the father’s love on a child’s development is as great as and occasionally greater than the influence of the mother’s love. Feeling loved by their fathers has an impact on children’s adult life. Such children have a better sense of well-being, happiness, and life satisfaction.
At present, there is no provision of paternity leave for private-sector employees as per the Indian Labour law. However, Johnson & Johnson’s move is proof that it acknowledges and encourages the equal role that both parents increasingly want to play, while welcoming a new life and to help delink parenting with gender parity.
In line with that, Sengupta believes that a good paternity leave also has the potential to enhance gender diversity in the workplace. “Offering paternity leaves is a small, but an important step in eliminating gender barriers and promoting equal opportunities at home and at work,” he says. It not only encourages equal parenting, but gives fathers time to bond with their newborn and play an equal role in the difficult first few weeks of raising them.
He adds that parental leaves can play a crucial part in one’s life as it helps them cope with the beautiful and overwhelming experience of parenthood, while giving equal opportunities to mothers and father to continue with their familial and professional duties.
“Parental leave truly allows us live up to our values by putting people first—helping employees live well across their whole lives. We understand that supporting our employees extends beyond work and into other aspects of their lives,” Sengupta adds.
A family of 130,000 employees, Johnson & Johnson is truly committed to supporting its staff and their families through life’s big and small moments—offering compassion, understanding and the flexibility they need.