Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Zomato introduces parental leave policy with no gender differentiation
Wednesday, 05 June, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Zomato, India’s leading food delivery app (which currently has teams in 13 countries), will be offering women 26 weeks’ paid maternity leave, or following the government mandated policy, whichever is more. Moreover, it will be offering exactly the same benefits to men as well. There will not be even an iota of difference in parental leave policy for men and women at Zomato going forward.

This policy also applies to non birthing parents, and in cases of surrogacy, adoption and same-sex partners. Zomato understands the first few weeks, once a new member arrives, can be financially straining for the young family. In addition to the flexibility and empowerment to care for their families as they deem fit, the new parents will also be given an endowment of $1000, per child, as they welcome their new baby to the world. These policy changes are applicable to even those Zomans who have had a child within the last six months.

Zomato believes that people produce their best work when their personal and professional goals meaningfully intersect and align. It has also always taken pride in building a culture of meritocracy – something which starts failing when it comes to equality between men and women at the workplace. This happens for various reasons – societal norms, precedents, and sometimes, even government policies.

One core issue that leads to fewer women leaders in organisations, the community, and the nation is the lack of universal paid parental leave. Currently, it is hard for women to lead a healthy family life and focus on their careers, leading to a lot of women leaving their jobs or putting their careers on the back burner. This results in a pressing lack of diversity across all levels of the organisation, and needs to be solved proactively.

While Zomato has been lucky to attract and nurture some of the strongest female leaders, it has been incredibly hard to find women leaders out there at senior levels. Majority of the senior positions in the world are currently filled by men. And even if an organisation wants to focus on gender balance in the senior ranks within, it is almost impossible to do that because of the supply bias.

A lot of that imbalance at the top stems from an unequal leave policy for men and women when they welcome their children to this world.

Young parents should be able to make a choice of how to care for their children. And that a myopic view of primary care-giving not only alienates one half of our workforce, but also creates circumstances that lead to fewer female leaders within organisations, the community and the nation.

Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. That is why Zomato has made some changes to our parental leave policies today.

Zomato also wishes that governments across the world institutionalise paid parental leave (the way Nordics do). That will be the right thing to do for organisations as well as individuals. In fact, it is time all major organisations took a step towards this much- needed way of life.

There is an African adage – “It takes a village to raise a child”. And while a village is ideal, a world where both parents are allowed, rather encouraged, to assume equal responsibility is a fair start. There will never be truly gender-neutral organisations unless there are gender-neutral communities and gender-neutral nations.
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