Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi sparked a controversy when she said that "paternity leave will be just a holiday" for fathers.
"Paternity leave can be considered only if, once the woman goes back to work after her 26 weeks of leave, we find that men are availing their sick leave for a month to take care of the child. Let me see how many men do that. I will be happy to give it but for a man, it will be just a holiday, he won't do anything," the Union Minister told the Indian Express.
If men start taking their assigned sick leaves for child care, a proposal for paternity leave can be mooted, she told the daily.
"If men gave me one iota of hope by taking sick leave for child care, then yes, we can think of mooting a proposal for paternity leave," the minister said.
According to the reports, several female MPs have raised the issue related to the paternity leave highlighting that the responsibility of the child must be shouldered by both parents. They have demanded paternity leave, citing that mooting the maternity leave supports the general norm of women being the sole care-taker of the child.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment recently mooted the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Under this Bill, the period of leave for new mothers was increased to 26 weeks from the existing 12 weeks.