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Swiss drugmaker Novartis has introduced 26-week parental leave for all employees, both men and women. The policy also applies to non-birthing parents and in case of surrogacy, adoption.

Maternity leave of 26 weeks is mandatory as per Indian laws across organisations in the country. However, there is no such rule for paternity leave in the country. No company in India has a similar parental leave policy for men and women. Earlier in June this year, restaurant discovery service Zomato also announced a similar policy.

Sanjay Murdeshwar, country president, Novartis India, said in a statement, “Our parental leave policy is a symbol of equality for all new parents in the company, offering choice and giving both parents precious time to spend bonding with their new baby.

Becoming a parent is a life-changing event and we want our people to cherish the experience. We believe that this move will enrich the workplace and foster a more inclusive culture in the organisation.

According to the parental leave policy that comes into effect from July 1, in case both parents work with Novartis, they will both be entitled to 26 weeks' leave. The policy is also applicable with retrospective effect to employees who became parents on or after January 30, 2019.

For non-birthing parents, the company allows to take leave in one go or two tranches of 13 weeks each within a year of birth/adoption/surrogacy of their new child.

While there is no cap on the number of births, in case a child is born premature, the employees will be entitled to an additional parental leave which will depend on the number of weeks of prematurity

The Novartis policy said that the first employees to avail this opportunity are expected to resume work in January 2020 and the company will offer coaching to associates going on leave.


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