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Maternity leave is an entitlement for working pregnant mothers. All female employees have an equal right to a basic time of maternity leave, so there are no restrictions or caps on who is eligible for it. It is not based on how many hours, days, months, or years a person has labored for the business. The Maternity Protection Acts of 1994 and 2004 contain detailed descriptions of all the aforementioned clauses. Additionally, the act mandates that workers receive compensation for the first 26 months of their maternity absence. The employee may also request an extra 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, according to the law. According to the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004, the leave should begin at least in the first two weeks before the baby is born and should not be less than four weeks after the baby is born (Schönberg, & Ludsteck, 2014).
Paternity leave is a period when the father of the child takes an off from his duties and responsibilities at work when the baby is born or adopted. Different companies treat paternity leave differently as some offer some offer paid time off while others do not pay at all. Some states like California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey have a law that provides that fathers be paid while in paternity leave. After paternity leave, the employees should be allowed back to the company on the same salary, benefits, working conditions, and seniority.
Significance of Business Adopting Law to Allow Paternity and Maternity Leave
Company treat paternity and maternity leave differently. There is a need for implementing of both types of leaves as both the company and the employee stand to benefit. Implementation of the paternity and maternity law will increase business morale at the workplace as the employees will feel valued and appreciated by the company. A law applying equally to all companies, businesses, and organization is deemed to boosted equality and fairness in the treatment of employees. Inequality in demonstrated when the law is applied selectively when employees are holding similar positions but working in different companies in the same industry are subjected to different treatment when it comes to access to paternity and maternity leave (Misra, J., & Strader, 2013).
All businesses which meet the minimum requirements on providing paternity and maternity leave should embrace the relevant law to motivate and retain talents and also as a way of enhancing fairness and equality. Research reveals that parental leave policies have significantly influenced retention of the workforce due to the provision of desirable working place. Development of a paternity and maternity policy is expected to reduce premature termination of contracts by either the employee or the employees, because of poor performance. For women employees, all companies have not option as to whether to grant maternity leave or not as refusal may be described as both physical and psychological torture. Most mothers are much connected with their newborns; therefore, maternity and paternity leave law is essential to enable a smooth transition back to work (Baker, 2016). Some employees may consider that two weeks leave is insignificant therefore consider terminating the contract and opt for another company that reasonably offers the fringe benefits.
A paternity policy is necessary to alleviate the increasing struggle for working fathers which will reduce the work/life conflict for men. The maternity law should be implemented along the paternity law to enhance gender equality in work as male employees at times tends to perform poorly with an excuse that the policy excludes them. Some argue that they have similar responsibility and emotions as the mothers during childbirth. Companies need to adopt parental leave policies to boost employees' health as these systems are known to reduce the anxiety and psychological distress. By implementing the parental leave policies, the company will achieve high levels of business ethics and professionalism.
Adoption of Maternity and Paternity Laws by States and Businesses
Parental leaves are applied differently in different states. In some countries, it's mandatory for entities to allow these types of leaves as provided by the law. States such as California, New Jersey, and Rhode stipulate that all businesses who meet the minimum requirements of granting parental leave to adopt a maternity and paternity leave policy. In this states, employees are offered both parental leave and medical cover. The states mentioned above have passed provisions of the federal family medical leave act (FMLA) which elaborates on the amount of leave available, employees have qualify for paid leave and classes of employees who are legible to take a parental leave (Misra, & Strader, 2013). Other states need to implement a state-specific maternity policy requirement as a way of creating equality and enhancing the growth of workers within the country. Businesses operating in states that have not implemented/amended the parental leave law should take it as a personal responsibility and formulate paternity and maternity leave policy as a way of ensuring a head-ache free way of dealing with the parental leave and other employees' benefits.
Besides, all states should seek to implement the parental leave law to ensure all businesses treat employees the same when to it comes to parental leave, as some firms must be pushed to act. All the three phases of maternity and paternity leave need to be made for the employees; the phases are; the period the pregnant women should work before giving birth, the period of maternity leave, and the transition back to work. Also, businesses may settle on different parental leave options which include; granting unpaid leave, allowing the employee to work home, offering flexible scheduling, or providing a paid leave (Meil, 2013). A company should provide the best practice by providing a combination of parental options that support the organization culture.
Benefits of Paternity and Maternity Leave to the Employee
Some companies such as Netflix has shown a high value of the employees by providing that they take off for the period they wish during the first year of the newborn or after adoption. The parents get enough time to bond with the child and get back to work ready and confident. High-tech companies need to treat and show a value of their employees in particular through favorable maternity and paternity leave to avoid costly turnover; and also to attract and retain skilled and expert employees. The overall health of the child is enhanced when both parents look after the newborn together. Employees can prepare psychologically on how to balance work and family duties, challenges and responsibilities during the period, therefore they able to concentrate once they get back to work. Research shows that companies granting maternity and paternity leave to their employees enhance the responsibility of the parents especially the father who undergo changes in the brain that improves their parenting (Baker, 2016). The companies benefit by having responsible employees as lawsuits are minimal. Parental leaves also boost child-parent relationship; therefore companies should not treat them as bonuses but rather as a necessity.
Employees’ rights during Paternity and Maternity Leave
Employees have a right to choose whether to work or not during the touch days during their paternity or maternity leave or adoption leave. Employees have a right to any pay increase during the vacation period as the employment terms and conditions are protected. Also, employees have the right to return to work after completion of their stated paternity, maternity or adoption leave. Besides, an employee has equal redundancy rights during the leave period. The employee has a right to fair and equal treatment in the workplace during the pregnancy period and can sue the company in case of discrimination based on the pregnancy status since pregnancy is treated as a temporary medical disability (Baek, 2017). Also, the employee has the right to decide when to take the maternity or paternity leave, as he or she can work as long as they feel they can perform the assigned tasks. The right of the employee to paid maternity and paternity leave is dependent on employment terms, conditions and agreement, therefore, the employee may claim for the pay if it's stipulated in the employment contract. Entities should seek to provide value for their staff by offering paid maternity and paternity leave to all employees. Also, states should strive to implement a particular maternity policy mandating entities to provide adequate and paid parental leave.
Baek, K. (2017). Professional Construction of Diversity Management in Korea. Development
and Society, 46(1), 25-53.
Baker, B. (2016). The Monthly Labor Review at 100—part IV: Employee benefits, industries
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Meil, G. (2013). European Men's Use of Parental Leave and Their Involvement in Child Care
and Housework. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 44(5), 557-570.
Misra, J., & Strader, E. (2013). Gender Pay Equity In Advanced Countries: The Role Of
Parenthood And Policies. Journal of International Affairs, 67(1), 27-41.
Schönberg, U., & Ludsteck, J. (2014). Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage and Mothers’
Labor Market Outcomes after Childbirth. Journal of Labor Economics, 32(3), 469-505.
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