Women HR Honchos Hail Extended Maternity Leave
Extending maternity leave from three to six months is an excellent step to make workplaces flexible, convenient and women-friendlier, said women HR leaders from several leading companies.
About 200 human resource professionals participated in All About Women at Workplace (aaw), a symposium, organized by Motherhood Hospital in association with The Times of India, to discuss the pivotal role that HR professionals play in making workplaces better and safer for women.Said Uma Srinivasan, president at Search and Selection in Randstad: “In a company where women comprise 54% of the workforce, I am very happy with the bill. Because women face multiple challenges, their count in the workforce keeps shrinking. Extending maternity leave will help us prevent this. This is a positive push for all of those thinking of giving up their careers after becoming mothers.”
Dhanya Rajeswaran, director at talent strategy, human capital and diversity in Accenture, where women employees get five-and-a-half month of maternity leave, said, “When women go through gestation, they start feeling detached, thinking they may not return. We have something called maternity coaches. Senior women employees who have returned to work from maternity leaves are assigned as councillors for newly pregnant women to help them deal with and overcome issues during this crucial phase.”
Kalpana Barua, chief people officer at Tally Solutions Private Limited, said: “It’s all about HR officials. They should realize that after an employee gets back from maternity leave, she isn’t as free as she was earlier and expecting similar commitment from her is unreasonable.”
Shwetha Kalappa, senior vice-president and head, employee engagement at Kotak Mahindra Bank, said: “There have been situations where there were obvious reasons for favouring a newly married man to a newly married woman during recruitment. This happens mostly among male managers who know babies and leaves usually follow a newly married woman. Workshops and counselling sessions should be conducted to sensitize such managers. This will help them hire based on talent and nothing else.”
Of being sensitive towards men : Talking about the need for HR managers to be equally sensitive towards men, Kalpana said: “We are planning to extend paternity leave from the present seven days. For single fathers, we have something called adoption leave. When it comes to sexual harassment complaints, we deal with men and women equally. Men who face any form of distress due to women colleagues are heard out and we ensure they too get justice.”
Said Vijayrathnam Venkatraman, CEO, Motherhood: “Today, women are playing larger roles in the business world. However, their responsibility at home remains the same. Improvizing work environments to ensure they are more friendlier, accommodative and understanding of women’s needs is a must. They are performing well and their contribution is no less than men.” At Motherhood, women comprise 80% of the workforce.
Content Credits: Times Of India