Good news for Ikea’s employees in India: both men and women are now entitled to 26 weeks of paid parental leave after the birth of a child, including surrogacy and adoption. Even more, mothers will be able to work half-days for up to 16 weeks upon their return.
This comes as no surprise for anyone familiar with Swedish practices (Ikea is a Swedish company), where paid parental leave is one of the highest in the world. While workers in Sweden get 16 months paid parental leave, this is still a hefty increase for parents in India.
Last week, Indian Parliament passed a bill requiring all companies with more than 10 employees to give a more generous parental leave. Currently, mothers are offered 12 weeks paid time off, but the new law will give them up to 26 weeks. This is a good thing for India, as a quarter of female workers are quitting the workforce to stay home with their babies. This new law is a requirement for mothers only, but companies like Ikea are free to give dads as much time off as desired.
“The vision is to create a better everyday life for its people,” said Anna-Carin Mansson, Ikea India’s head of Human Resources, in a statement. “We are a value-driven company. Gender balance and equal opportunities form the base to create a great place to work for all—men and women. We hope to redefine equal opportunity with the policy.”
This isn’t the first time a Swedish company gave its global employees access to significant parental leave. In 2015, Spotify gave all employees six months paid parental leave, followed by one month of flexible hours, where employees could choose to work from home or work half-days to make the adjustment back to work a much smoother process.