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The year 2016 has seen wonderful and progressive moves in areas of Diversity & Inclusion and Work-life balance policies in the Corporate sector. It was a year that also saw significant positive legal amendments in employment laws in India.
Here is our list of top Corporate Policy changes/highlights that would transform the way we work in India:
#1 Parental Benefits
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill of India was passed in August 2016. The bill has mandated the following incremental changes:
- 26 weeks paid maternity leave for two surviving children
- 12 weeks paid Surrogacy leave from the date the child is handed over
- 12 weeks paid adoption leave from the date of adoption (for an infant who is less than 3 months old)
- Mandatory creche facility to be provided by all companies with 50+ employees
But, many progressive organizations had spearheaded market-leading changes in parenting benefits earlier in the year, even before the law became enforceable. Notable among them are Microsoft, Jabong, Viacom18, Urban Ladder, Vedanta and Pitney Bowes.
PWC announced its Full Circle policy in December 2016, whereby women employees may take a three year break post maternity, one time during their employment.
Accenture and P&G have both outdone the legal minimum by introducing 6 month adoption leave policy for their women employees.
I have previously critiqued the extension of the maternity leave, raising questions about its efficacy as a diversity tool.
Therefore, the true game changer, in my opinion, has been the introduction of gender neutral parenting leave of 6 months to all primary caregivers by Deutsche Bank Group (across Asia Pacific).
#2 Work-life Balance
Work-life balance is literally the most important Human Capital concern globally. The CEO of Dentsu, Japan, recently resigned in the wake of an over-worked employee committing suicide. Sweden has moved to 6-hour workdays and workers in France can now legally ignore emails after work hours.
In India, one of the largest software giants, Infosys, set the ball rolling this year by extending their work-from-home policy from 4 days a month to 9 days a month. This decision has been taken considering the long and difficult commute that work-life in India entails today.
Since May 2016, Tata Starbucks announced a 5-day work week for its employees in lieu of the original 6-day work week, a step ‘that recognizes employees’ commitments outside of work’, per CEO Sumitro Ghosh.
2016 also saw the first Co-working India Conference where the ideas of working from anywhere, and the future of workplace were explored.
#3 Care-giving Leave
The senior citizen population in India is increasing fast (Read our anecdote on this critical issue here). This, coupled with the increasing life-expectancy in the country, means that care-giving would be one of the most important responsibilities of the working sector.
Deloitte took a pioneering step by introducing a 16-week paid family leave policy this year, to support a gamut of life-events impacting families, including care-giving and bereavement.
We hope that other progressive organizations will soon follow suit.
Has your company introduced any interesting workplace policy in 2016? Comment below or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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