Women employees of SBI can now take two-year sabbatical leave from work for purposes like children's education.
State Bank of India (SBI) is likely to extend this facility to single male parents as well.
"We have brought in a two-year sabbatical for our women staff in case they want to take it for any purposes like education of their children, taking care of the elderly parents/in-laws," Arundhati Bhattacharya, the first woman to head SBI, told PTI in an interview.
When asked if the scheme, which she had announced immediately after taking over last October, is in place, she replied in the affirmative. Many private sector organisations, including banks like ICICI Bank, have such provisions in place, but a state-run bank implementing such a provision is probably new.
Bhattacharya said the bank was planning to extend the sabbatical leave to single-male parents as well, as the bank needs to be sensitive to their special needs.
"At this point we have not done that. But down the line, we might look at single-parents, as well as males who are single-parents. They also need that kind of sensitivity and we should look at that," she said.
Bhattacharya, who had implemented a system of sabbaticals of six years for women during her previous stint as the head of SBI's investment banking subsidiary SBI Caps, said she had to limit it two years at the bank in line with the policies followed by the government.
"At SBI Caps, we had done it for a longer period of time. Here, we have done it for two years mainly because the government also has it for two years," she said.
Apart from this, Bhattacharya said the bank had also introduced a special product for women borrowers for home loans which offers a discounted rate, and is looking at more such initiatives.
She, however, declined to disclose the finer details of the plans. State Bank employs the largest number of staff in the banking sector with over 2.25 lakh employees.
Bhattacharya, the first woman chief in the bank's 207-year history, had promised to introduce many employee-friendly initiatives, including the sabbaticals at the time of taking over in October.
"Being a woman myself, I think women employees have special problems. I will definitely try to be more sensitive to that," she had said at her maiden interaction with the media.