Ruby will soon join the new moms club as her little bundle of joy is due to arrive in January. The assistant manager at SAP is working through her pregnancy, dispelling all doubts about managing motherhood, work and home. SAP has assigned her a cab to bring her to office and take her home. It has even allocated her an official buddy at work under its 'Run the Mummier' programme.
"My buddy Vatsala has a five-year-old daughter. She's a great sounding board at work to discuss my mood swings and emotional downturns. She takes me out of the slightest discomfort I feel," says Ruby, who has a nuclear family. "For me, it's family and SAP. I feel secure and confident, given that I get so much help at office," says the 34-year-old.
Several Indian women quit jobs due to pregnancy and motherhood. But now, with increasing pressure to retain talent and consciousness about the need for diversity at workplace, companies are offering unique perks and incentives and create special programmes to check dropouts among women.
Accenture runs a unique programme called 'Hours That Help' where employees can donate their unused vacation time to their colleagues who are in need of additional paid leave to attend to critical medical or personal matters. "Often, this option is used by new parents to attend to any critical or urgent childbirth related matters," says Biswas. Accenture also offers security escorts and dedicated medical cabs for expecting mothers.
Google India offers a baby bonding benefit of Rs 13,650 (around $250) for young mothers. There's a Rs 1.5-lakh insurance cover towards delivery-related expenses. Also, if the baby is sick, it is covered under the Rs 5-lakh general insurance scheme extended to the family. The company offers a Rs 75,000 infertility cover. In case of adoption, Google bears the entire adoption expenses against bills that include the legal charges and agency fees. The adoption benefit is extended to domestic partners that cover lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender.
Experts believe that maternity and childcare benefits translate into higher retention, helping firms also to develop strong women leadership benches. In SAP in 2007, 61 women employees on their family way went on leave and only 19 stayed back. This meant 69% of them didn't return from their maternity leave. In 2012, 134 went on maternity leave and 128 returned to work," he says.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was appointed during her pregnancy and she returned to work within days of delivery. She runs a volunteer-driven Women in Tech (WiT) group that supports women to help them successfully enter and remain in the IT workforce.