Women have maternal leave during their pregnancy which allows them to take full rest and take good care of themselves and the baby. Pregnancy is both a special and crucial period for the mother and the family as well. The fathers equally deserve a leave for the same to take care of their wife and the child as well known as paternity leave. It is considered a general human right. There is a paternal leave policy that allows up to two weeks of leave by the father within 56 days of the childbirth or 56 days within the expected delivery date. Some criteria of paternity leave include: the father being the biological parent or adoptive parent, or surrogate parent, or spouse/partner of the childbearing mother.
There is no such strict or designed law/policy in India regarding paternity leave. The only general law for paternity leave in India is 15 days leave. The government sectors only give paternity leave in India. Unfortunately, private sectors do not have a policy of paternity leave. Many companies do not even have the policy or facility of paternity leave as they are unaware of it or do not understand it. Many are still bound by the pre-existing stigmas of gender roles-child being the only responsibility of the mother. There are no other benefits that come along with the law. It is essential for the fathers also to have beneficial paternity leave because it is equally important. As most fathers miss the opportunity of being with their wife and their newborn child, paternity leave will allow them to spend good quality time and support their wife and the child, too, throughout.
The gender gap still ends up remaining in India. The societal norm of the woman only having to take the child’s responsibility and their growing up is still out there in the Indian society. Indian societies still lack the knowledge of a father’s importance and role during and after the child is born. There is no such strict law that is made mandatory for all working sectors (both private sectors and government sectors). If fathers are also given equal paternity leave, they will support their wives throughout the pregnancy periods. Pregnant mothers tend to fall sick and require extra care during their pregnancy; they also have severe mood swings, and the ideal person to support them during it is their spouse. It also allows the fathers to see their child coming to this world and developing day by day. It also helps debunk the negative societal norms about parenting being the major responsibility of the mother only. Many pregnant mothers may not have other family members to look after them while their spouse is at work, which leaves the father in worry and risky for the mother. Having beneficial paternity law will contribute to developing society’s thought and break negative stigmas, also benefit the father, mother and the child.