Longer maternity leave works as a double-edged sword for mothers and negatively harms the women's employment market. Since, almost every other country in the world offers new mothers longer leaves than new fathers, with around half of all nations completely omitting paternity or gender-neutral parental leave. The current Indian lawdespite ground-breaking amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act in 2017, failed to recognise this persisting hidden gender bias. Therefore, putting more effort into encouraging fathers to take leave is a necessity. Also, numerous studies have shown that small businesses frequently recruit more males to reduce the "burden" of maternity leave. Since this puts the employer, who is motivated by profit, in a advantageous position despite being directly in conflict with the primary intent of the Act. Therefore, a model based on collaboration between the government and employer when it comes to covering the expense of benefits is necessary to strengthen the position of women in workforce. About 95% of employed women in India work in the unorganised sector, thereby not having access to paid maternity leave. This renders the Maternity Benefits Act ineffective for most. Further, Budgetary allotments have been a huge letdown despite the fact that the National Food Security Act specifically permits pregnant and lactating women to get 6,000.
This research paper explores and provides constructive comments on the present standards and potential of paternity leave, how much of the benefit burden should the employer bear, as well as the necessity and scope of extending the benefits to the unorganised sector. The authors look into existing paternity leave models in different countries along with existing policies in certain private companies, so as to provide effective suggestions on how parental benefits can be optimally implemented in the country to further the primary intent of the socially beneficial Act.