App-based food delivery company Zomato's new rules granting 26 weeks' parental care leave for all staff including men and non-birthing parents like in case of LGBTs where the child is born by surrogacy or taken in adoption are hailed as setting a new standard in employee welfare. However, some are skeptical because the plight of the thousands of field staff, who are the mainstay of the delivery service, continues to remain unchanged.
Aimed at improving the staff's work-life balance, Zomato also offers an endowment of $1,000 per child, according to CEO Deepinder Goyal in a blog post. "According to me, a lot of that imbalance at the top stems from an unequal leave policy for men and women when they welcome their children to this world," he said.
Zomato operates in 24 countries and promises to offer either 26 weeks' paid leave, or benefits as per the government-mandated policy, whichever is better, Goyal added.
"We will be offering exactly the same benefits to men as well. There won't be even an iota of difference in parental leave policy for men and women at Zomato," he said in the blog.
Expanding the concept further, the company has included men and non-birthing parents like in cases of surrogacy, adoption, and same-sex partners, the blog said. The policy will extend to the staffers who have had a child within the last six months.
However, the new changes do nothing to improve the plight of the field staff, who are mostly part-time employees, according to some observers. The field staff of the company that boasts hosting 1.2 million eateries in its network are always under the constant threat of losing their jobs on customer complaints or being penalized with a deduction from salary for getting anything less than the five-star customer rating.
The company claims to make 120 million food deliveries every month and has been sharpening its game as it is locked in a pitched battle for market share with the likes of Bengaluru-based Swiggy and foreign players like Uber Eats and Food Panda.
With competition heating up in the food delivery business, Zomato's improved work conditions will help it retain staff and attract talent. But the challenge would be to provide a more human working condition for staff at the lowest rung as attrition at that level could affect overall service efficiency.