Menstrual leave policies have gained significant attention for promoting
gender equality and employee welfare. Although many jurisdictions worldwide
have adopted these policies, their legal standing is still under scrutiny.
This article examines the constitutional perspective of menstrual leave
policies, specifically focusing on the Supreme Court's stance on the matter.
By understanding the legal framework surrounding menstrual leave, employers
can navigate potential challenges and develop policies that meet both
employee needs and legal requirements.
A policy that lets women take time off from work during their menstrual cycle is
called menstrual leave. This strategy is significant as it perceives the
remarkable difficulties and actual distress that females might insight during
the menstrual cycle, which can hinder regular routines and make it challenging
to partake in ordinary exercises By providing females with the help they need to
deal with their feminine wellbeing unafraid of adverse results at work,
menstrual leave can assist with advancing orientation balance.
Menstrual leave also recognizes and addresses the unique physical challenges and
needs that women may face during their menstrual cycle, which helps
de-stigmatize menstruation by allowing women to speak up about health issues
related to their menstrual cycle and seek treatment or recovery time.
Menstrual leave policies, on the other hand, have been linked to gender
stereotypes and the perpetuation of menstrual stigma, as well as an increase in
discrimination and negative attitudes toward menstruators. Menstrual leave
policies' implementation and impact are still up for debate. Some argue that
they are important for gender equality, while others worry about unintended
negative effects and potential violations of menstrual culture.
History of Menstrual Leave Policy:
The verifiable foundation of the menstrual leave policy uncovers a complex and
developing scene. The idea of feminine leave strategies can be followed back to
post-Progressive Russia in the mid-1900s when it was first executed in specific
work areas. Be that as it may, this approach was subsequently taken out in 1927
because of the victimization of female specialists.
It is vital to take note that females confronted various limitations in the work
environment during this time span. They were frequently disallowed from working
night shifts or in occupations considered perilous or unfortunate for them,
limitations that were not applied to men or during wartime circumstances.
Women were even required to retire after marriage in some nations. Instead of
addressing menstrual health and gender equality in the workplace, the
introduction of menstrual leave was viewed as a form of protectionist
"motherhood" policy. Menstrual leave policies have their historical beginnings
in addressing societal issues like finding jobs for returning soldiers and
regaining the population in post-conflict nations.
For centuries, these policies have been discussed and debated, with varying
levels of implementation and adoption in various nations. For instance, Japan
established its feminine leave strategy in 1947 through the Work Norms
Regulation, yet the take-up of this arrangement was declined throughout the long
It's important to note that employers sometimes use the fact that menstrual
leave policies exist as an argument against giving female workers equal pay,
making the story about these policies even more complicated. By and large, the
verifiable foundation of feminine leave strategies features the diverse idea of
this issue and the requirement for progressing conversations and endeavours to
advance orientation equity and back females' well-being in the work environment.
Current status of feminine leave arrangements around the world:
The ongoing status of feminine leave arrangements overall fluctuates across
various nations and associations. Employers in a variety of nations, including
Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Zambia, and Mexico, have adopted
policies regarding menstrual leave. Menstrual leave has also been implemented by
some businesses and professional organizations, such as Coexist in the United
Kingdom, Culture Machine and Gozoop in India, and the Victorian Women's Trust in
In any case, there is restricted public information and admittance to HR
approaches and methods in regard to the execution and utilization of menstrual
leave strategies. In the US, the possibility of menstrual leave has gotten some
momentum, with worries about reasonableness to the people who don't discharge or
expected maltreatment of the approach being referred to as reasons against its
execution. Additionally, a survey indicates that 24% of US workers do not have
access to paid sick leave, and there are currently no federal requirements for
paid sick leave.
China, South Korea, and Indonesia, on the other hand, have specific laws
regarding menstrual leave. Menstrual leave is available in three provinces in
China, women working in South Korea have been given one day off per month since
2001, and women in Indonesia have two days off per month. The current state of
menstrual leave policies worldwide demonstrates that, despite the adoption of
these policies by some businesses and nations, there is still ongoing debate
regarding their expansion and the need for additional research to fully
comprehend their effects on overall well-being and workplace status.
India's Stand on Menstrual Leave Policy:
The issue of the menstrual strategy in India has created huge conversation and
discussion, especially corresponding to ladies' privileges and work environment
uniformity. While menstrual leave arrangements are in many cases benevolent,
there is the worry that they could have accidental unfortunate results for
When discussing gender inclusivity, it is essential to take into account how
gender intersects with age, class, and position in the organizational hierarchy.
The discussion encompassing menstrual leave strategy has exposed significant
issues with respect to the inclusivity of ladies' bodies in the work
When compared to women working in the unorganized sector, women in the organized
workforce generally have better access to safe and clean restrooms at home and
at work. Presenting menstrual leave in associations can not just give females
fundamental downtime during their period yet additionally advance solid
conversations about the monthly cycle and sharpen the labour force and society
It is critical to recognize that ladies frequently wonder whether or not to
communicate distress connected with periods in the work environment because of
disgrace, apprehension about separation, and botched proficient open doors. Even
though there is no specific law in India that regulates menstrual leave, some
industry players are developing internal protocols for employee wellness that
include menstrual leaves.
This demonstrates the freedom that businesses have to offer more advantageous
employment terms than what is required by law. In order to comprehend its
implications for women's rights and workplace equality, it is essential to
examine India's approach to the global implementation of menstrual leave
Supreme Court's Stand on Menstrual Leave Policy:
While the Supreme Court may not have issued a direct and unanimous judgment on
the constitutionality of menstrual leave policies.However, the assessment of
such policies can be guided by constitutional principles, precedents, and
jurisprudence on gender equality, discrimination, and workplace rights. This
foundation provides valuable insights for interpreting and implementing these
In 2022, The Supreme Court of India dismissed the PIL requesting menstrual leave
for workers and students nationwide stating that menstrual leave is a policy
issue which has different dimensions to it so should be left in the hands of the
policymakers and it would also discourage employers from employing female
Having said that it was also mentioned by the bench that menstruation is a
biological process and women should not be discriminated against it in
educational institutions and workplaces.
Although the Supreme Court's stance on policies regarding menstrual leave may
not be clear or consistent across jurisdictions, a number of constitutional
principles provide guidance for evaluating them. Policies regarding menstrual
leave can be justified if they aim to avoid discrimination and stereotypes while
also promoting gender equality, employee well-being, and inclusion.
Organizations can implement menstrual leave policies that respect the rights of
all employees and promote a fair and inclusive work environment by aligning
policies with constitutional guarantees and legal standards. The
constitutionally sound policy for menstrual leave strikes a balance between
promoting an equitable and inclusive workplace and acknowledging the biological
realities of menstruation.
As statute and cultural perspectives advance, it is crucial to stay informed
concerning the furthest down the line legitimate improvements to guarantee that
feminine leave approaches remain naturally powerful. But the most important
thing is that, in addition to being necessary for advancing gender equality in
the workplace, a successful policy regarding menstrual leave is also essential
for fostering an inclusive environment in which individuals are valued and
supported throughout their entire reproductive cycle.
Written By: Janhavi Bhatia