It’s a treat for women employees at Tata Sons. The company has announced paid maternity leave of seven months and 18 months of half pay-half working day post-maternity support for women staff. That’s not all. Women will also have the option to flexi-work, that is, they can work from home for up to two days a week and opt for flexible work hours. Further, women employees, after completing five years at work, can avail of a one-year leave at half pay if they are care-givers at home. This leave can be taken in installments, for a maximum of six times for a minimum of two months during their entire career.
The issue of career progression has also been dealt with to the advantage of women. It would be ensured that performance rating during maternity leave and flexible work will be based on the average of the previous two years’ ratings or ratings for the ongoing year, whichever is higher. These types of leave will be considered as continuous service, and promotions will not be impacted.
The policy has presently been unveiled only at Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group. It may be adopted in due course by the other Tata companies, which collectively employ about 600,000 people including 145,000 women.
Dr N.S. Rajan, Group Chief Human Resources Officer said, “Our intent is to show that we care through a deep organisational commitment towards our women employees. Working women today perform multiple roles much beyond their work at office. Looking after home, attending to children and elders is a cherished role. Our approach, be it special leave and flexible alternatives, are aimed at recognising these important roles women play in their families and stand by our woman employees wherever needed.”
Traditionally, Tata group companies have been known for their employee-friendly policies. For instance, Tata Steel pioneered several labour welfare benefits long before they were enacted by law. These include an eight-hour working day (in 1912), free medical aid, establishment of a welfare department, leave with pay, workers’ provident fund scheme (in 1920), workmen’s accident compensation scheme, maternity benefits, profit sharing bonus and retiring gratuity. Most of these benefits were enforced by law decades later in the various Acts.