The five-year policy, which also includes women in factories, covers the key life stages of motherhood: pre-childbirth (1 year), maternity (1 year) and post-motherhood (3 years).
The auto major says its goal is to work with female employees from start to finish at these critical points of their motherhood journey, so they can care for their families while maintaining and growing their careers.
Ruzbeh Irani, president, HR group, Mahindra Group, told TOI: “It is not just about bringing in gender diversity but also about maintaining gender diversity and making women feel like they don’t have to choose between their career and their family lives. Based on what we learned from listening to our female employees at all levels, it was decided to take a more holistic view of this, using a five-year horizon.”
Among other things, what is unique about the program is the three-year postpartum work support, which includes six months of flexible work and a 24-month hybrid work option from the base location, if the nature of the work/role requires this permits, and with the approval of the administrator. For critical work-related domestic overnight travel, female employees can travel with their child (up to 2 years old) along with a caregiver.
Women’s representation at M&M stands at 8%, which is currently in line with the automotive sector. Asha Kharga, EVPChief Customer & Brand Officer, Mahindra Group, said the intention behind the five-year program is to attract female talent.
In the manufacturing sector, data from ‘Avtar & Seramount 100 Best Companies for Women in India’ shows that seven out of eleven companies provide for phasing back maternity leave (including work flexibility). Although the average duration is 2.4 months, the maximum offered by any company in the manufacturing sector is three months. By comparison, M&M’s new policy is the best yet.
Saundarya Rajesh, Founder and Chairman, Avtar Groupsaid: “Flexibility is the oxygen of women’s careers. And in the case of returning mothers, it makes the difference between a woman who decides to keep working and one who decides to quit. M&M’s post-pregnancy hybrid work model is a game change and one that can help redefine manufacturing as a women-friendly industry.”
Since a majority of women take a career break after giving birth, several companies have designed their policies around providing flexibility to retain female employees. Tata Sons was one of the first to formulate policies around the different stages of women’s lives. In addition to 18 months of half-paid support after a half-day post-pregnancy, Tata Sons offers women the flexibility to choose their working hours. Those who have been employed for five years can take a year of leave for various care tasks.