Swedish car maker Volvo on Wednesday announced a gender neutral policy, 'Family Bond', that allows the male employees in India to avail up to 24 weeks (120 working days) of parental leave at 80 per cent of total salary.

Women employees will continue to avail 26 weeks of fully paid maternity leave as per the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, Volvo Car India said in a statement.

The policy which is line with Volvo Car global directives, applies to all regular salaried (on-roll, full-time) employees in India, including all mothers and fathers, same sex parents, parents to adopted and foster children or through surrogacy, the statement said.

There are no limitations on age or marital status, it added.

"Volvo, being an employee-friendly company, believes that both partners should share the joys of parenthood and be available to each other while bringing up children.

"It is because of this that one of the essential features of our new parental policy is that male employees can spread this privilege over a three-year period," said Jyoti Malhotra, Managing Director, Volvo Car India.

The new policy is a big step in fostering an inclusive and diverse culture by enabling both the parents to have an equal opportunity to be with their children in their initial years, Malhotra said.

With this policy, Volvo encourages even more employees to take parental leave and make parental leave for both parents the new 'norm,' the company said.

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Free Press Journal