Friday, August 28, 2009

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Tech companies adopt baby-friendly policies

Bringing home your adopted bundle of joy got a lot more joyous with many Indian firms beginning to offer paternity leave, in addition to maternity leave. The central government had recently increased child adoption leave from 135 days to 180 days and extended the facility to adoptive fathers.

Many tech firms are now treating adopted babies on a par with biological children. Therefore, employees — men and women — are given paid leave for not only childbirth and initial care of biological but also adopted children. This marks a huge leap in HR practices of India Inc. as till recently child bearing/ raising leave was given only to women employees, that too only for biological children. Men had to take leave or forgo their salary if they wanted to be with their wives for either of these events. However, there are wide variations in this practice too, from very generous to rather stingy.

Taking the lead in setting the trend is the country’s largest tech player, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The company gives 3 months paid maternity/ paternity leave for employees for biological and adopted children. TCS, vice-president, (global HR), Ritu Anand says, ‘‘In addition to regular 3-month maternity leave for women, we offer an equal period of paid adoption leave for employees, irrespective of gender. The adoption leave policy was initially put in place for women in early 2005 and later extended to male employees as well after we saw a need for it.’’

Wipro is closely following the trend. The company gives one-month paid adoption leave to employees, says Saurabh Govil, senior vice-president (HR), Wipro Technologies.

However, Infosys gives a week-long adoption leave for women employees and none for men while male employees are given a five-day paternity leave for biological children. Infosys says its HR policies on this matter are set by employee feedback. ‘‘Based on employee feedback, we’ll also have a policy for adoption leave,’’ says Nandita Gurjar, group head (HR) Infosys Technologies.

Others like Mahindra Satyam, Perot Systems and Cognizant are seriously considering a policy to accommodate adoption leave. Mahindra Satyam currently offers 90-day paid leave for women for biological children and a lesser period for men.


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