In a first and major step towards breaking gender stereotypes, Deutsche Bank (DB) has delinked parental leave from gender. From January 1, the bank will offer the same quantum of childcare leave — maternity leave of 6 months in India — to men as well, if they happen to be primary caregivers.
The new leave policy is being rolled out across Asia Pacific. An internal note circulated among DB employees in India, says: “The new parental leave policy centres on the caregiver’s responsibility, rather than tie parental leave to gender, and replaces what was previously called maternity/paternity leave. It also covers surrogacy and adoption and aligns it with parental leave entitlements. Deutsche Bank employees who are new parents can choose to either be the primary caregiver or the non-primary caregiver within the duration of the parental leave.”
The main caregiver or the one who takes primary responsibility for care of his/her child during the bank’s typical work hours is eligible for the leave. The policy is expected to provide greater flexibility and choice for parents to take care for their newborn or adopted child alongside their careers.
It is usually assumed that the woman/mother is the primary caregiver since she gives birth to the child. But there is a growing trend of men partaking in childcare responsibilities. Madhavi Lall, head, human resources, Deutsche Bank India, told TOI: “The new policy will fight several unconscious biases that are prevalent in society. If a male employee happens to be the primary caregiver, he can now give a self-declaration and avail up to six months of parental leave. If an employee’s wife is required to return to work in three months after childbirth and the husband (DB employee) becomes the primary caregiver for the child, he can avail of the new parental leave benefits.”
Similarly, the primary caregiver concept in cases involving surrogacy and adoption would also apply to men now. Lall said the processes currently used to onboard women returning to work post maternity will also be applicable for men when they return to work post childcare/parental leave.
On the other hand, employees who are non-primary caregivers can continue to take 10 working days paid leave after the birth of their child or adoption of a child below 7 years of age.
The overall diversity number across Deutsche Bank India group is 33%. While in the executive committee, the apex decision making body of the Bank, the diversity is 40%.