Fighting for maternity leave is probably not something you have given much thought to when preparing for the delivery of a baby which is hard enough, especially when you’re a working parent. The time that comes after the baby’s delivery is the most important and crucial time in the development process. The initial bond between parent and child is essentially established within that small period of time. The first interactions of a baby’s life show profound impact on a child’s cognitive and emotional development later in life.
With that being said, it seems almost archaic that companies would not consider paying maternity leave to parents of surrogate babies. Unfortunately, the struggle is real and mothers and fathers today are fighting for the same rights to maternity leave as natural birthing moms. Not only do the parents suffer an enormous amount of emotional and financial burden from surrogacy but they now have the added stress of being denied their fundamental right to spend time and care for their newborn child.
Currently, maternity leave and pay are only granted to the surrogate mother who gives birth to the child. The problem is that most companies traditionally have laws in place and are now being forced to look at every expense line, just to ensure they are properly prepared for the changing markets and economy. Adding new expenses to their budgets may cause them to have to cut backs on other, more traditional expenses and benefits.
With that being said, parents of surrogate babies are taking the control back and demanding that companies take a deeper look into their policies. A case with the high court back in July of 2015 granted a mother of twins from New Delhi full maternity leave after her company denied her. “A female employee, who is the commissioning mother, would be entitled to apply for maternity leave under sub-rule (1) of Rule 43. The competent authority based on material placed before it would decide on the timing and the period for which maternity leave ought to be granted to a commissioning mother who adopts the surrogacy route,” Justice Shakdher noted in his order.
As the platform for Surrogacy Rights evolves, so should the outdated and traditional laws that back them up. In the mean time, ask the right questions when talking to your employer and don’t be afraid to take the issues to your corporate HR Department.