Startup News Magazine

A group of Agencies leading the way with its new parental policy

It covers everything from adoption to surrogacy and much more.

 Mumbai, February 8:  In an industry-first move, three agencies, part of one collective group, have rolled out a truly inclusive and best in class parental policy for their teams. These agencies include Never Grow Up – a Work Culture Consultancy, Yellow Seed – a Content Strategy & Development Agency and SPRD | Stories.PR.Digital – a digital-first Public Relations think tank.

Building on the normative changes we have witnessed in the 21st century and those accelerated by the pandemic, the policy is a benchmark solution to recently surfacing employee issues concerning childbearing and rearing. It accounts for a better work-life blend regarding household responsibilities for people of all genders and orientations and factors in multiple aspects of parenting.

The policy applies to any team member who has worked with the company for 90 days (probation period included) and aspires to become a parent through birth, legal adoption, commissioning through surrogacy, fostering, or choosing to become a surrogate carrier.

While the policy offers 26 weeks of paid leave to birth parents – irrespective of their gender or marital status, 12 weeks of paid leave to commissioning parents, 16 weeks of paid leave for surrogate parents & 4 weeks of paid leave for foster parents, the policy has also factored in incidents that may potentially throw life out of gear. For E.g. irrespective of your gender, in the event of a miscarriage, or the child/children being stillborn or in a situation of a declared medical termination of pregnancy, team members would be eligible for a total of up to six calendar weeks of paid leave immediately following the unfortunate circumstance & this applies to any number of incidents.

When asked, Asif Upadhye & Aashutosh Katre, who are part of the management team and sticklers for building a better workplace, had a common voice, “This is not a policy to us. It is the way we think things should be. We want to emphasize the inherent value of a person and their life choices instead of ascribed identity tags and titles. Becoming a parent should not negatively impact employee wellbeing; the onus of ensuring this lies squarely with the employer. It is our way of leading the way for real empathy, especially when corporate culture is known to work the other way round. The aim is to offer comprehensive leave to team member/s irrespective of their life choices to effectively manage emotional, biological, and psychological changes that come with being a parent & provide them paid time off to take care of their health and wellbeing and bond with their child before returning to work.”

In addition to this, the all-inclusive gender, identity, and orientation neutral parental policy also factors in the pre and postpartum wellbeing of team members by way of going into the most delicate details like ergonomic seating, work from home, on-call counsellor and creche reimbursements besides ensuring that appraisals are not impacted upon the return of a candidate.

Studies show that companies that offer paid parental leave value employees and their families. This policy goes a step further by allowing the scope of customizing one’s parental leaves as per life circumstances. Additionally, in the Indian legal landscape with just 8.2 percent of paternity leaves – with a number of days differing from company to company – in comparison to maternity leave, the inclusion of emotional and psychological wellbeing of employees through actual tangible benefits is a progressive move – one that has the potential of normalizing the future of parenting.

It is well known that all 193 member countries of the UN offer paid parental leaves to their citizens except for the USA. With many countries like Sweden and Norway leaps and bounds ahead and more companies incorporating parental benefits as a talent attraction and retention strategy, there remain gaps in including benefits not based on one’s marital status, orientation or the process of bearing offspring. Bereavement leaves and childcare management facilities are taking context in Indian society but are still not well-established. It is where the policy has managed to create an exemplary stride.