The survey conducted across 38 leading organizations under various sectors like FMCG, Manufacturing, IT, ITES, E-commerce, Financial Services highlighted that new mothers who resume work post their maternity leave have two major concerns- breastfeeding at work and the facilities provided by the employer for doing so. It also showed that corporates are investing in their female employees, through provision of childcare support and paid maternity leave, in order to retain them when they become mothers.
Some other findings of the survey:
The World Health Organization recommends mothers to exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first six months and continue breastfeeding along with solid up to two years to build a healthy foundation for the child. Recognizing the need to encourage mothers to breastfeed, The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 was passed by the Government of India for increasing the maternity leave period from the previous 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
Speaking about the need for corporates to support mothers in sustaining their breastfeeding decision, Ms. Emilie Moulard, Managing Director, Medela India said, “It is obvious that breastfeeding while working adds another dimension to the challenge of nursing: it is time consuming (at least 2 breaks of 20 minutes per day), energy consuming and requires some logistic (keeping the milk at the right temperature from the breast till the home, carrying the equipment etc.). Thankfully, over the years corporates have started realizing this and tried to extend support to new mothers getting back to work. The first thing is to offer comfortable breastfeeding/pumping facilities (dedicated rooms and equipment such as breast pumps, storage bags, feeding pillows). The next thing would be to help break the taboo of breastfeeding (or pumping) at work, to make women proud of it instead of hiding it, by establishing a better dialogue between manager and returning employee, maybe peer groups and/or access to counselors to help deal with this transition in a very hormonal and emotional period. Because the role of corporates in enabling mothers to double-shift between home and work is becoming increasingly important”.
This survey by ProEves and Medela India attempted to study childcare and maternity practices in detail and understand the associated ROI of such corporate practices aimed at returning mothers. Ketika Kapoor, co-founder ProEves states the survey clearly calls out Breastfeeding support/infrastructure as a practice with the lowest challenge yet the highest impact for companies when compared to other practices like extended leave, flexible working, maternity onboarding and we expect more companies to embrace such provisions for their returning mothers. This is the first comprehensive database on maternity and childcare support practices in India.