Flipkart, India's biggest e-commerce company, has announced new policies on maternity leave and flexi hours, aimed at making itself a better workplace for women.
New incentives include six months paid leave for all new mothers, twice the statutory requirement of 12 weeks. After re-joining, they can work flexi hours for four months. Alternatively, they can choose to take a year-long break and come back to work at available positions at the time.
In addition, the company is offering Rs600 per day in transport reimbursement for two months before going on maternity leave, and a dedicated parking spot two months before and after delivery. Flipkart will also provide hospitalization cover, and day-care centres.
Flipkart's move comes amidst similar such announcements by companies such as Godrej, Hindustan Lever, Citibank, Accenture and Vodafone among others.
For instance, Citibank is offering childcare allowance of Rs 1.32 lakh above salary for new mothers. Hindustan Lever offers 180 days of maternity leave to all employees and has extended that to new recruits as well. At Vodafone, women employees get 16 weeks of paid maternity leave and get full pay for working 30-hours a week for six months after rejoining work.
And at Accenture, women employees get paid leave of 22 weeks, and those who adopt a child get eight weeks of paid leave.
India faces high attrition of women from the work force after marriage. It has one of the lowest participation of women in the workforce anywhere in the world. A 2013 World Bank study found that only 27% of women above 15 were part of the workforce.
More liberal maternity-linked policies and flexi hours will help encourage women stay and thrive at the workplace.