Microsoft India has joined the league of companies which have increased maternity leave for their women employees. From February 1, women employees in the company will be eligible for maternity leave of 6 months. This would be in addition to the option of unpaid leave for up to 3 months and flexible work hours for up to 2 years. All male employees in the company are eligible for 2 weeks of paternity leave.
Significantly, Microsoft had enhanced parental leave for its US employees from November 1, 2015 to 12 weeks, paid at 100 per cent, for all mothers and fathers of new children. For birth mothers, this is in addition to the 8 weeks of maternity disability leave they currently receive, paid at 100 per cent, enabling them to take a total of 20 weeks of fully paid leave, if they choose. Eligible parents were also given the option to take their parental leave either in one continuous 12-week period or split into two periods.
In October 2015, Adobe India had increased maternity leave to 26 weeks from 12 weeks and paternity leave to 2 weeks from 1 week earlier.
The Government of India is also considering a proposal to increase paid maternity leave to 8 months in a move to combat the country’s chronic malnutrition problems from the current 6 months at its offices. In the private sector, women are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity benefit at full pay under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. There is a proposal to increase this period to 26 weeks.