Online fashion platform Jabong on Friday said it will now offer six months of maternity leave to its employees from the earlier practice of three months leave. The move, which comes ahead of the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill 2016 expected to be tabled in Lok Sabha in the upcoming Winter Session, is part of Jabong's endeavour to enable a conducive working environment for young expectant mothers, Jabong said in a statement.
"Women represent 30 per cent of Jabong's workforce and (impact) 60 per cent of our revenue. We believe that making our culture more inclusive is an economic imperative for the success of our organisation and the country," Jabong CHRO Deepa Chadha said.
The leadership team decided that Jabong should proactively adopt a longer maternity leave for women colleagues and address a genuine concern for them, she added. While the legal requirement on maternity leave is three months, firms like Hindustan Unilever, Accenture, Microsoft and Flipkart have proactively enhanced it to benefit their women employees.
The Bill, which was passed by Rajya Sabha last month, will impact an estimated 1.8 million women working in India's organised sector. A study undertaken by Jody Heymann, founding director of the World Policy Analysis Center, suggests that women who don't receive paid maternity leave are more likely to drop out of the workforce, therefore losing income for themselves and their families.
The number of women drops sharply in the corporate hierarchy - from 25 per cent at entry level positions to 16 per cent at middle management and 4 per cent at senior management level.
McKinsey estimates India's women to constitute only 24 per cent of the paid labour force compared to the global average of 40 per cent and the corporate world must find innovative means to encourage women to join the workforce and contribute to the nation's progress, Chadha said.