New fathers are at equal risk of an emotional conflict as they try to provide childcare support at home, while continuing their focused commitment at work, reported Times of India.
A study by ProEves reveals 55 per cent of working parents stressed about work-life balance are men. While companies have employee-friendly policies targeted at returning mothers to help them balance work and home responsibilities, several organisations have now begun providing family friendly policies, in addition to existing maternity and paternity leaves.
Deutsche Bank has introduced a few leave categories such as ‘well-being leave’, which allows employees to take half a day off once every two months to attend to any personal need, and ‘family caregiver leave’, which has been created as a subset within the sick leave limit to allow employees to take care of ailing family members.
While the lender noticed a high uptake for these leaves among both genders, a large proportion of male employees are seen opting for these leave types. The reason: It allows them flexibility to look after their personal and family needs while focusing on work.
Deutsche Bank India head (HR) Madhavi Lall said, “The need for flexibility has been expressed in various internal forums by both male and female employees. We have therefore focused on a greater element of choice in our HR policies and benefits to suit individual needs and preferences. Social perceptions sometimes deter men from availing some of these benefits, but we are seeing a change, especially in the younger population.
They want to actively participate in raising a family or taking care of ailing parents.”
Parental support goes a long way in creating an engaged workforce. In India, more than 50 per cent of working employees are parents who look at companies to provide support, according to ProEves — a provider of childcare, maternity and parental support solutions to companies.
ProEves co-founder Divya Agarwal said, “More than 80 per cent of working mothers want their spouse to become active parenting partners and seek advice on how they can involve them. Our study on childcare and parental support practices reveals that parental support/family friendly policies by companies result in increased engagement, empathetic workforce and increased performance of employees.”
ProEves, which also provides childcare concierge services to working parents of various companies, was surprised to find that 55 per cent of parents who reached out with queries were men. “Their queries were related to, first, how to support their wives with parenting responsibilities and, second, ways of spending quality time with kids before and after work,” said Agarwal.
Last year, Deutsche Bank introduced its gender-neutral parental leave policy that is applicable to both newborn and adopted children. It centres on the caregiver’s responsibility and is gender-agnostic. While the ‘primary caregiver’ leave was moved to six months, the ‘non-primary caregiver’ leave was doubled from five days to 10 days. “We have already seen five instances of male employees opting for primary caregiver leave and a sharp uptake of the enhanced non-primary caregiver leave,” said Lall, indicating a small but significant transition in society towards childcare.
Based on discussions and interviews with employees caring for elder family members and those who have children with special needs, IT software firm Intuit decided to introduce ‘family care leave’ last year. “We realised that taking care of a dependent adds additional emotional stress on the employee and hence a paid leave might help them to focus on caregiving,” said Manoshi M Ghosh, total rewards partner, global delivery centres, Intuit India.
Similarly, for young parents at AkzoNobel, the day cares are open to both male and female employees.