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What is Paternity Leave?

Paternity leave is a paid leave for the father of a newborn child. The paid paternity leave is necessary so that the father can take care of the newborn baby and the mother of the child so they do not lose their earnings for the period.




Background to Paternity leave in India

Raising a child and taking care of a newborn is a joint responsibility of both a mother and a father. That makes parental leave for both parents crucial. The child is dependent on their parents for a significant amount of time. Initially, within the period of a few weeks of childbirth, the infant and the mother needs dedicated time and to be taken care of. While the mother takes care of the infant, many times the new mother needs special attention too, and parental leave to both parents can ensure that.


The Maternity Benefits Act 1961: Under this Act, women are entitled to various benefits, facilities, and incentives. For a long time, there was no such provision made for paternity leave in India, which is necessary for a healthy family.




The First Provision

The provision was made in 1999 by the Central Government in India for paternity leave for the Central Government employees under Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A).  Under this rule,


  • 15 days of leave is given to the fathers as a paternity leave.
  • The leave can be availed before or within 6 months from the date of delivery of the child.
  • The leave is applicable to men with less than two surviving children.



Maternity leave amendment

In the year 2017 along with to the enactment of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017. According this amendment,

  • Women can be entitled to take maternity leave for 26 weeks.
  • From a total 26 weeks, 8 weeks of leave can be taken before childbirth.
  • The maternity leave applies to all women in workplaces with more than 10 workers.
  • Adoptive mothers are entitled to 12 weeks of paid leave.



The Paternity Benefit Bill

In 2017 the long awaited Paternity Benefit Bill was proposed in Parliament.

Men can take paternity leave of 15 days before or during 6 months from the date of delivery of a child.


If the paternity leave is not availed during the stated period from the birth of a child, it is considered as lapsed.


Since paternity leave is a paid leave, the wages should be paid to the new father. The leave salary equal to the salary drawn immediately before proceeding on leave.




Eligibility for the Paternity Leave in India

  • In India, men in the organized as well as unorganized sector can take paternity leave for a period of 15 days. The paternity leave can be extended to three months.
  • The employee worked for at least 80 days in the firm is eligible for paternity leaves of 15 days.
  • The paternity benefits for the employee are calculated according to the average daily wage paid to the employee for the days actually worked by him.
  • According to the seventh Central Pay Commission provision, of leave to be granted to adoptive parent with a child below the age of 1 year.

This bill made equal parental leave benefits available to both mothers and fathers.




The Purpose of Paternity Leave

The objective of paternity leave is to provide benefit to the natural parent, and adoptive parents by allowing them to take better care of their child. If it is approves by the Parliament, and supposed to benefit the population of around 32 crore men in the labor force, including those in the unorganized sector.


It also gets mothers support from the father during and after childbirth, as they are not forced to immediately return to work to earn money. For fifteen days on paternity leave, getting paid the equal to the pay they got in their last working month can be a huge support. This means fathers can provide necessary support for their family without worrying about the pay.


Here are a few important points related to paternity leave policy



Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017

Its applicable to men all over the India working in government or private establishments such as factory, mine, plantation etc.



Every employee will get the paternity benefit. the pay is at the same rate as the average daily wage payable to him on days which he has worked or the minimum rate of wage fixed or revised under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 whichever is the highest for the period of his paternity leave.



Work Duration

A man will be eligible to the benefit only if he worked in the establishment for a period not less than eighty days in the twelve months immediately preceding to the expected date of delivery of the child. There is provision for immigrants in a new state. This qualifying duration of eighty days will not be applicable to a man who has recently immigrated into the state in case his wife was pregnant at the time of arrival in the new state.



Duration of Leave

A man with less than two surviving children can get paternity benefit for the period of fifteen days, of which no more than seven days shall precede the date of expected delivery. It can be utilized for up to three months from the date of childbirth.


The Paternity Benefit Act also provides provisions for exceptional in the case of death of a man immediately following the delivery of his child, the employer would be liable for providing the benefit for entire paternity period to the nominee of that man. If the child also dies during the paternity period, then the employer is supposed to provide paternity benefit for the days up to the death of the child, including the date of death (child).



Advance Payment of Salary

The employee can get an advance payment of the amount by the employer, under paternity benefit for the period preceding the expected date of birth of the child. The employee have to give proof that his wife is expecting a child, and the amount due for the subsequent period should be paid to him within 2 days of submitting the proof.



No Dismissal

An employer can not dismiss the employee from the establishment during or on account of such absence for paternal leave. Employer also cna’t give notice of discharge on such a day if the employee has taken leave in accordance with paternity benefit Act. Dismissing or serving notice to the employee for taking paternal leave under this law will be considered violation.



Failure to Provide Paternity Benefits

The employer that fails to provide the amount of paternity benefit to the person eligible for it cause be punished with the imprisonment. The minimum imprisonment for it is three moths and can be extended to an year. Employer will be also fined with minimum amount of twenty thousand rupees that can be extended to fifty thousand rupees.




In the case miscarriage happens the employee can get a week of wages at the rate of paternity benefit after producing proof for the same. These seven day leave immediately following the miscarriage.





This act also applies to the parents who adopt a baby. If a man adopts child who is younger than the age of three months or is legal husband of commissioning mother is eligible for paternity leave of 15 days. These fifteen months can be counted after the child is handed over to the adopting patents.

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