5 Indian Orgs And States Like Bihar & Kerala Have Legal Period Leave… Why Can’t All Women Get It?

Facilitating period leave policy is not about providing them rest but making the workplace more humane and favourable for female employees.

The discussion on “paid period leave policy” is not new in India. It has been doing rounds since 2017 when Menstruation  Benefit Bill was presented in parliament to provide a safe and healthy work environment to female employees.

But this is still a matter of debate. Because people have different reactions to this as they have polarized opinions about implementing this law.

I strongly believe that menstruation leaves should be mandated in India. Enforcing the “paid period leaves policy” at the workplace is a pressing priority as the policy will lead to more inclusivity at the workplace that acknowledges the physiology of women’s body and support them deal with this monthly crippling pain.

Spain has already set the ball rolling by announcing three days of paid period leaves for menstruating women across the country. Japan also joined the squad by legalizing the leave for menstruating women.

South Korea since 1953 practising the law of granting female employees “menstruation leave”.

Women’s lives are nothing like men’s lives

Women are the backbone of the family and society. The purpose of the policy is to address the physical and emotional challenges women experience during those times of the month. To take care of their health and well-being, promote their growth and enhance their productivity at the workplace, executing the policy may prove to be a cornerstone to empowering women in the workplace.

Implementing a paid menstrual leave can also be a game changer in uprooting the deep-rooted stigma and taboo around menstruation.  In some parts of India, it is considered an embarrassing and dirty affair and women are kept isolated from the many household activities.

Women have always been juggling their relationships, careers, children, health and home all at once. They are expected to be a devoted wife, caring bahu, a loving daughter a doting mother and a dedicated employee all at the same time. They are supposed to be perfect in all roles and are expected to maintain every role and relationship with full responsibility and honesty.

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The weight of balancing work and family has increased exponentially in the recent past to the point that more women are reporting feelings of exhaustion, anxiety and depression.

They are on the verge of serious burnout.

On top of that every month they go through this biological process when they experience cramps, pain, intense mood swings, irritability, bloating and headaches.

Some might go through abrupt hormonal imbalance and their abdomen pain may vary from dull and constant to intense spasms. This is known as dysmenorrhea. This can vary with each period and from person to person.

The duration and severity of cramps can be reduced by stretching muscles or relaxing and taking some rest along with some medication.

Facilitating leave policy is not about providing them rest but making the workplace more humane and favourable for female employees. To provide them with support and strength, to bolster their courage and confidence.

Women’s health should be prioritized both at home and at their workplace. There should be a law to grant menstruating women “paid leaves” or work-from-home options.

Some Indian trailblazers have already given legal menstrual leave

In India some states like Bihar and Kerala have granted period leave for the wellbeing of their women employees. They have allowed two days of paid menstrual leave every month by law. Along with them some companies have come forward and have participated in granting period leave to allow women to take leave and rest on those difficult days.

Swiggy– online food delivery company Swiggy- has taken the initiative to give two days’ leave to their female food delivery partners.

Discomfort from being out and about on the road while menstruating is probably one of the most underreported reasons why many women don’t consider delivery to be a viable gig. To support them through any menstruation-related challenges, we’ve introduced a no-questions-asked, two-day paid monthly period time-off policy for all our regular female delivery partners,” Mihir Shah, Swiggy’s Vice President of Operations confirmed in a recent blog post.

Culture Machine – this  Mumbai-based digital media start-up made it mandatory for their women employees to take a day off on the first day of their period.

Byju’s – India’s leading education App, Byju’s has announced 12 days of paid leave for its female employees in a year. They can either take a day off monthly or can avail of two half days leave,  they mentioned in a blog.

Wet & Dry Personal Care – A New Delhi-based feminine hygiene products maker Wet & Dry Personal Care set the ball rolling by allowing its women employees to take two days leave during those days of the month to make them comfortable and confident.

Zomato – This Gurugram-based company has granted 10 days of paid period leave for its women employees. This will help them maintain continuity in business and work.

Some other companies and organizations also have embraced the “paid period leave” trend.

It is the need of the hour to lace our women employees with paid period leave or work-from-home options to let them work in their comfort and flexibility.

Image source: a still from the film Tumhari Sulu

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